Sunday, October 10, 2010

MasterChef India and Pakistani Radish

I'm watching the very dishy Akshay Kumar on MasterChef saying, "Tasty Dish, warna Game Finish!" as I'm typing this post. MasterChef India premiered last night, and being an obsessive MasterChef Australia and US viewer, I had to catch the first few episodes. I'm still not sure what to think of the show. There is Akshay for eye candy and super-star value of course, and 2 other chefs who seem fairly TV friendly. But I just hope it does not become like the US version where Gordon Ramsay so overpowered the other 2 judges that they just seemed like cardboard cut-outs with little to say or do.

First impressions - the opening lacked the punch. We have seen audition-based opening episodes with queues of people braving rains and heat-strokes many times earlier. The script, I feel, could have been much better. What is it that really sets this show apart from other talent shows? After all, its about cooking and eating - something all Indians love and believe they are experts in - much like Cricket :D But the lines were less than inspiring...
And then there are the contestants - the regular mix of weirdos, sob-stories, talent, people from small towns and villages, cocky youngsters and the kind of contestants we have seen a million times on Indian Idol, Dance India Dance and the like. Now whether they can actually match up to Masterchef cooking standards is yet to be seen. So far, it has been entertaining enough and though Akshay hogs all the limelight, the other 2 judges are not complete wallflowers. So I still have hope!

Now to move on to the Radish which is the other subject of this post... Radish/Mooli/Mulangi is a vegetable that is rarely on people's favorite list. It has a strong, distinctive flavor and as kids we used to hate eating it thanks to the smell which is akin to you-know-what! Raw radish in salads, or sambhar with radish slices is mostly how I have eaten this vegetable.
Then last month there were these amazingly fresh radishes I bought along with the leaves just because they looked so good... And so I trawled the web looking for a good recipe. That's when I came across a recipe for Pakistani Mooli ki Sabzi. Unfortunately, I did not bookmark the page and have been unable to trace it to acknowledge... So if any of you know find the original recipe, do let me know.

Radish - 1 large (with leaves)
Coriander seeds/Dhania - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chillies - 1
Garlic - 2 cloves
Aamchur/Dried Mango Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Vegetable Oil - 1 tbsp
Roasted Peanuts - 8 to 10
Dhania/Coriander leaves - to garnish

Wash and peel the radish and slice it thinly. Chop the radish leaves and garlic finely. Crush the coriander seeds roughly with a rolling pin. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, coriander seeds and red chillies. Once they start sputtering and the garlic turns brown, add the chopped radish leaves and slices. Sprinkle the salt and aamchur and cook without covering on a medium to high flame, stirring in between, till the radish slices turn almost crisp. Now add the roasted peanuts and combine well.
The way I like it:
Garnish with some fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with parathas or rotis and dal. Tastes great with rice too.

The flavours in this dish are very simple yet delicious. The aamchur powder lends it a sourness that goes extremely well with the pungent mooli and the only other spices are the coriander seeds and red chillies. Maybe not a dish worthy of MasterChef India (:P) but you will not be disappointed with the crisp radish slices, the crunch of the peanuts and the inherent spice of the radish leaves. I will go out on a limb and say even those of you who hate radish will surely like this dish :)


madsnow said...

was quite excited about the indian masterchef after not missing a episode of australia but was thorougly disappointed. its more drama than competitive cooking and that majorly sucks.

Anonymous said...

am making this dish today... i have one radish on hand, leaves and all

Swati Sapna said...

@madhu - i know what u mean... i was not impressed by any of the dishes put up by the contestants. like i said, they seem to be following the US pattern of all drama and no substance and i hated that version! lets see how it shapes up...
@arundati - let me know how it turns out!