Daikon/ Icicle Radish (Mooli) Greens Dal

Daikon greens in a spiced lentil and coconut sauce

This is a dish my mom has been making for years. Usually the leaves of the radish are discarded. In fact when I was living in India and I would buy icicle radish from the street vendor with the leaves, I would ask for more leaves. Most people bought the radish and the vendor had a lot of leaves which they said that they would feed the leaves to the cattle. They would happily throw in a bunch of leaves in my bag The vendors usually fed the cows these leaves.

This year I grew daikon for the first time. If you have space in your garden or some extra pots, try growing them. they are really easy to grow. They like cooler climates and will bolt when hot. I plan to grow more in the fall. The greens are slightly bitter and remind me of collard greens. They are slightly bitter. Maybe you try this with collard greens too.

I heard from a friend that in Maharashtra, they chop and stir-fry with some cumin and chilli powder and mix in gram flour (besan) at the end. I will have to look up a recipe. My colleague who cooks a lot of Chinese food said that she soaks the leaves in hot water, drains, squeezes out the water, chops and stir fries with oil and green or red chillies. Another recipe to try.

I always wondered where this dal originated from and mom said they make it in Coorg. I remember my mom using channa dal but she now makes it with moong dal; according to her moong dal is easier to digest than channa dal.

Here is my mom’s recipe. So, the next time you come across radish leaves, use the greens and let me know how it is.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch mooli (daikon) leaves (try substituting with collard greens if you cannot find daikon greens)
  • 1 small peeled daikon, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup channa or moong dal (lentils), cooked
  • 1-2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 lime sized tamarind soaked in warm water and pulp removed or 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 dried red chillies

Directions

  • Cook dal in a pressure cooker, instant pot or in a pan
  • Wash and chop daikon leaves and daikon
  • Add chilli powder, turmeric and some salt and cook till greens are cooked.
  • Grind together coconut, cumin powder, coriander powder and tamarind pulp to a fine paste.
  • Once the greens are cooked, add the coconut paste, dal, salt to taste; mix and cook for a couple of minutes
  • Heat 2 tsp canola or vegetable oil. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add garlic and red chillies. When garlic is cooked, pour over the dal and serve with roti, naan, pooris or rice or just eat a bowl of this healthy dal.

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