I was paying for my groceries and the cashier’s eyes went very large when it came time to ring this in. “What IS this?” she asked. And I had to laugh because it was really such a strange looking beast. It was about four times the size of anything considered normal, pristine white in colour and had these furry appendages on one end. I would describe it as a strange looking hybrid of a deep-sea creature and an albino mole.
Daikon, known as mooli in Hindi and as mulangi in Tamil is a very mild, carrot shaped white radish. It is high in vitamin b and c and has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s got a high water content so don’t be nervous to pick up a large one. After being shredded and salted it reduces down in size substantially.
My lovely daikon was destined to become this delicious dish. Growing up I ate this stuffing in chapathis or rotis but these days for a quick dinner or lunch on the go we use the filling in tortillas or pitas. The flavours in this recipe comes from all the lovely aromatics involved in making it but it is the peppery and fresh flavor of ajwain or carom seeds that cuts down the pungency of the radish. If you don’t own any ajwain I highly recommend buying some. Chew on a pinch of them for a quick breath freshener or to aid in heartburn (my go to during all my pregnancies).
Paneer, a mild and sweet Indian cheese, is optional in this recipe but it’s sure tastes delicious in it! Making your own paneer is very simple but in a pinch buying a brick of it at the store and shredding it in will suffice as well.
This isn’t a meal I have shared with the kids as it pretty spicy but it’s a go to favorite of all the adults in my life. It is Indian comfort food at its best!
- 1 large daikon
- 2 shallots or 1 medium yellow onion diced finely
- 1 tbsp shredded ginger
- ½ cup washed and destemmed cilantro leaves
- 1 large green chili
- ½ cup fine or shredded paneer
- 1 tsp ajwain or carom seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp neutral tasting oil
- Salt to taste
- Shred the daikon and place in a colander. Salt and set aside to drain.
- Dice the shallots and shred the ginger. Finely slice the chili. Carefully destem the cilantro and chop if desired.
- Squeeze the daikon the remove the excess water. The most effective way to do this is to squeeze one handful at a time and put it in a separate bowl. The daikon should feel very dry to the touch after the water has been removed.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add the ajwain seed and cook for a minute. Add onion, ginger and chilis and sauté until cooked. Add other spices and cook for another minute. Add daikon and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Cook until the daikon softens. Taste frequently. Add salt to taste.
- After the daikon is cooked add cilantro and paneer. Cook for a minute longer and remove off of heat.
- Use the filling in tortillas, pitas or in chapathis.