I was recently watching the Megan and Harry series on Netflix. There was one particular part I actually liked. The friends’ idea for the new year is to set a word. My instant reaction to that was wow, that’s profound. Rather than having a resolution that you drop off after a few days, finding a word that is adding meaning to you in multiple ways sounded far better.
Guess what word I am choosing…after a bit of thought! Imperfect that is my word. As we evolve this year I will share with you how we are taking it forward. For now, we are starting with imperfect produce. We have imperfect radishes that we are using to make this lesser-known South Indian style preparation.
Prepping the radishes
Radishes or Raphanus sativus, come in long cylinder ones or small round varieties. They have red or white skin. Inside they can be white, variegated or watermelon colour. I choose the small round red varieties to make this dish. The skin is red here and the flesh white. To prep, these, wash them thoroughly especially if they are not in perfect shape. I use a toothbrush to get rid of the mud in the folds. remove the leaves (don’t discard make mullangi keerai poriyal) and trim the root. Now slice the radishes into wedges. Save a few radishes to make our much-loved Radish pear salad with tahini dresssing.
Ingredients to make puli mullangi
Red radishes: prep the radishes as per the notes above. These radishes are crunchy and have a slightly stronger peppery flavour than daikon. Thus goes nicely with the spices added. If you are looking for a low food map option make it with daikon as this has been tested.
Sambhar powder: the archetypal curry powder for anything South Indian is the Sambhar podi. It works for this one too imparting the classic mix of heat from the chillies, smokiness from the coriander seeds and complexity from the fenugreek.
Tamarind extract: a thick extract of tamarind is the souring agent in this puli mullangi. This along with the salt and the sambhar podi forms that thick sauce that coats the red radish wedges.
Tempering: spices most South Indian dishes start or layer on with a spice-infused oil. This is created by crackling mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and red chillies in sesame seed oil.
Seasoning: to balance the flavours salt is needed. My mum swears by crystalline salt in anything she wants to keep for a while. This is not the pink rock salt but clusters of sea salt that are not powdered. The flavour this imparts minutely changes depending on the other minerals in it. For acutely trained tastebuds like hers, these are important.
- Cutting board
- measuring cups and spoons
- 10 -15 medium radishes red salad variety
- 1/2 cup tamarind extract
- 2-3 tbsp Sambhar powder
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Sesame oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1-2 dry red chillies
- 10 curry leaves
- Wash and clean the radishes.
- Slice them into wedges, Set them aside till needed.
- Into the kadai or deep wok add the oil and mustard seeds.
- Set on medium heat and as the mustard crackers add the fenugreek seeds.
- When it turns aromatic add the red chillies ( break it in half for the heat) along with curry leaves and saute for a minute.
- To this add the radishes and saute them for about 5-6 minutes.
- Now add the thick tamarind extract, sambhar powder, salt and turmeric powder and mix it all well.
- Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes, till the radishes release water and are fork tender.
- Open the lid and mix to coat the gravy on the wedges.
- Once the gravy thickens and coats the radishes well, the puli mullangi is ready.
- Taste test and adjust salt.
- Garnish with coriander leaves if using immediately.
Serving ideas for the radish in tamarind sauce
The puli mullangi is kind of a spicy side dish. You could pair it with a South Indian thali meal. For a simpler platter, I would choose keerai molagutal and puli mullangi with cooked millet.
Fill up a wrap with some cooked beans, stir-fried kalonji rice and pieces for puli mullangi spicy filling wrapped burrito lunch on the go.
Meal prep and saving for later.
The puli mullangi will stay well in the refrigerator for up to a week. In freezer-safe containers, they stay well for up to 3 months. The radishes do go a bit limp but taste fantastic even upon thawing. Save in smaller portions so you thaw only what is needed.
This new year share with us what you think you will be doing. Stay subscribed to see how we are going with our word. Connect with us (instagram or facebook) as we plan to travel a bit more and share new locations and experiences with you.