Mooli Fry: Masala-Coated Fried Radish

7 Sep

Mooli Fry Sabzi

"Cannot handle the pungency of radish" – is that your rationale for staying away from radish-based curries? I know how you feel. Once upon a time, I was you. Till I discovered tricks to tame the mighty mooli. May I gently recommend to you my mooli fry recipe. With steps calculated to reduce the sharpness of radish, mooli fry presents to you this root veggie in its mildest form.

I find it hard to eat more than a few bites of raw radish, but mooli fry? I can have that by the bowlful.

Masala Radish Fry - Mooli Fry

You Need:

  • White radish – 400 grams
  • Salt – 1/3 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida powder – a pinch
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons

For the masala:

  • Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup chopped
  • Salt –1/4 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Tamarind – small coin-sized ball
  • Chana dal – 1 tablespoon
  • Urad dal – 1 teaspoon
  • Dry red chilies – 3
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil – 1 teaspoon

How To Make Mooli Fry:

1. Make the masala paste

Break dry red chilies into 4-5 pieces.

Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup of water for 20 minutes. Extract the pulp from the tamarind, discard the seeds and roughage.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan.

When the oil is hot, add to it cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Follow with broken dry red chilies. Turn the red chilies around for even cooking. When the chilies turn a shade darker, add urad dal and chana dal.

On low heat, roast the dals, stirring regularly, till they turn golden.

Switch off the heat and let the pan cool to room temperature.

Place the roasted ingredients in a chutney grinder. Grind to powder. Top with chopped coriander leaves, tamarind pulp and salt. Grind again to paste. Keep this masala paste aside for later use while cooking.

Masala Paste - Coriander Leaves and Fried Spices

2. Prepare the radish

Peel the radish. Trim the ends.

White Radish

Chop the radish into small (~1-cm) cubes. Sprinkle salt, toss and keep the radish cubes aside for 30 minutes.

Radish Cubes

Salting and resting prompts the radish to release its pungent juices.

Squeeze all the juices out of the radish cubes. Rinse in unsalted water and squeeze again.

Do not discard the radish juices – use it for kneading chapati dough.

3. Cook the radish

In a thick-bottomed pan, heat two teaspoons of oil. When the oil is hot, set heat to low and add to it mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. Let the mustard seeds splutter.

Tip in the radish cubes. Stir around.

Radish Cubes, Cooking

[Check if you need to add salt – there is usually some carry over from the pre-cooking step and you need not add more. Even if you do add salt, make it not too much – the masala paste, which will come in later, has been salted too.]

Cover then pan and cook, stirring every other minute, for 6-8 minutes or till the radish cubes have softened.

Cook uncovered on high heat for another minute.

Radish Cubes, Fried

Cooking the radish reduces its peppery sting.

4. Add the masala paste

Mix in the masala paste (prepared in step 1) with the cooked radish cubes.

Radish with Masala Paste

Mix well and turn off the heat.

Radish Mixed with Masala Paste

Let the pan stand covered for 2-3 minutes for the flavors to blend.

The spices and roasted dals in the masala paste balance out the natural pungency of the radish.

Mooli fry (masala-coated fried radish) is ready.

Masala Radish Fry

Serve mooli fry on the side with any Indian meal.

Mooli Fry


Are you saying you *do* like the radish-ness of the radish and want none of the flavor masking? Kudos to you. When you tire of crunching on radish raw, go for carrot radish curry.

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