Mooli aka daikon radish is a winter vegetable that I look forward to enjoying all year. In my childhood home it was and still is most commonly used to make mooli ka paratha – flatbread stuffed with grated and spiced daikon. Or, peeled and sliced to eat as a winter salad with carrots sometimes salted with a sprinkle of bhuna jeera or even chat masala. Though, that is not all. Another way to enjoy the spicy-sweet flavor of mooli is in this mooli ki sabzi. The sabzi uses daikon or mooli leaves with their stems. But if those aren’t enough some grated mooli is added too. This is a quick stir fry which keeps the leaves and stems crunchy while adding a whole lot of flavor. Try it next time you find a daikon radish!
Winter greens – more than just Saag!
Winters in northern India, specially Punjab, are synonymous with Saag and Makki di Roti. But, as a thoroughbred with farming blood in my veins, I have to warn you not to say this in the face of Punjabis too often. We don’t just eat saag all winter long! We savor it, enjoy it often but we eat a lot more. It’s a stereotype that gets stale and annoying really quickly. Saag as a term can mean any greens and across India it is used to refer to a green leafy sabzi. In Punjab, it refers to Sarson ka Saag by default. Any others have to be specified with a prefix. When I couldn’t find mustard greens (sarson) where I lived in the US, I ended up adapting my family’s saag recipe to make Haak ka Saag. But beyond saag, there is methi, baathu (bathua) and tender greens from roots like daikon and beetroots. And that brings me to this recipe!
Chukandar aur Mooli – winter produce in India
Chukandar is Hindi and Punjabi for Beetroot. We use it in a variety of ways, the beetroot thoran on the blog is from Kerala and there is also a recipe for dal with beetroot greens. If you follow us on Instagram then you can see the video (on IGTV) where I make my beetroot salad with feta and roasted walnuts. In north India it is cooked along with potatoes or, stir fried with ginger or, added to a lacto-fermented drink called Kanji that uses black carrots as its main ingredient.
Mooli can often be spotted in a salad during winters. From my grandparents to my aunt and parents, everyone made it a point to enjoy as much mooli as they could in the winters. In-season daikon is juicy, a bright white in color and sweet with a hint of spiciness like a mild wasabi flavor not that steam inducing horseradish commonly added to commercial wasabi pastes. As the season progresses, this taste changes and you are more likely to find riper bitter mooli. As with most other vegetables we love to make paratha with mooli (coming soon on the blog!).
Waste not, want not – easy Mooli ki Sabzi
Keeping with the low waste, root to stem ethos of using vegetables, this recipe will help you reduce waste in your kitchen. Apply this method of cooking to any edible greens. The tadka of mixed seeds and mustard oil enhances the flavor of mooli and beetroot greens without distracting from their crunch and mild spiciness.
Serves: 2 – 4 people; Cooking Time: 20 to 25 minutes with prep
Ingredients for Mooli ke Patton ki Sabzi
- Mooli leaves and stem ~ 2 cups, chopped
- Beetroot leaves and stem ~ 1 to 2 cups, chopped
- Mustard oil ~ 1 tbsp
- Zeera/Cumin ~ 1/2 tsp
- Saunf/Fennel ~ 1/2 tsp
- Methi/Fenugreek ~ 1/2 tsp
- Ajwain/Carom ~ 1/2 tsp
- Rai/Mustard seeds ~ 1/2 tsp
- Green chillies 2-3 chopped
- Salt to taste
- Haldi/Turmeric ~ 1/2 tsp
- Mirch/Chilli powder to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Other optional additions – chopped ginger, garlic and/or onions
- A squeeze of lime juice before serving ~ 1 tsp (also optional)
To begin, wash the leaves thoroughly. I recommend cutting off the stems so that they are easy to handle and then washing them at least thrice to remove any dirt.
Then chop the leaves and stems. Wash and chop green chillies. This recipe doesn’t have a fixed ratio of mooli to beet leaves. You can use as much as you have; only use daikon greens, only beetroot greens or a mix as I did. Adjust salt after stir frying. Often if there aren’t enough leaves, grated daikon is added to the sabzi. This recipe is akin to gently wilted greens served in French, New-American, Sichuan and other Chinese and South East Asian cuisines. I did not use ginger or garlic, but those are other aromatics that can be added easily.
The fastest sabzi ever!
Put a heavy bottomed pan or wok on medium high heat and warm up the oil. I used mustard oil because it is very commonly used in the winters. I always associate a mustard oil tadka with winter foods in Punjab while in Bengal it is used year round. You can just as easily use another cooking oil. Mustard oil is pungent. Smoking it reduces its pungency or so most north Indian cooks believe and do. I did the same and brought it up to smoking, though that is not necessary.
Lower the heat and add all the seeds and chopped green chilies. As soon as the seeds start spluttering add the chopped greens. (If using ginger-garlic, this is the time to sauté them before adding chopped leaves.) Stir quickly and toss well. Then add dry ground spices and salt. If you are looking for a kick of warming spices, add a pinch or two of garam masala. Cook on medium heat until the leaves turn a bight green. That’s it! The stems will be crunchy and the leaves wilted and bright. You could continue cooking longer but that would take you into the saag territory! I prefer this sabzi with bright still crunchy greens.
A mooli platter with mooli ki sabzi & mooli salad!
I served this sabzi with urad dal, freshly made whole wheat chapati, homemade dahi and, of course sliced daikon aka mooli for salad. Its almost winter – time to enjoy all the mooli we can!
Explore the blog!
Bookmark this recipe or Pin it for later!
Mooli ke Patton ki Sabzi – Stir Fried Daikon Leaves
- Heavy bottomed pan or wok
- 2 cups Mooli/Daikon leaves washed and chopped, can be less or more
- ~ 2 cups Chukandar/Beetroot leaves washed and chopped, can be less or more
- 1 tbsp Mustard oil or any other cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp Zeera/Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Saunf/Fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp Methi/Fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp Ajwain/Carom seeds
- 1/2 tsp Rai/Mustard seeds
- 2-3 Green chillies chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Haldi/Turmeric
- Mirch/Red Chilli powder to taste ~ 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 cloves Garlic chopped, optional
- Ginger – 1 inch piece cleaned and chopped, optional
- 1 tsp Lime juice optional
- Garam Masala – a pinch optional
- Wash the leaves thoroughly. Cut off the stems so that they are easy to handle and wash at least thrice to remove any dirt.
- Then chop the leaves and stems. Wash and chop green chillies.
- Put a heavy bottomed pan or wok on medium high heat and warm up the oil. I brought mustard oil to smoking, though that is not necessary.
- Lower the heat and add all the seeds and chopped green chilies. As soon as the seeds are spluttering add the chopped greens. (If using ginger-garlic, this is the tine to sauté them before adding chopped leaves.) Stir quickly and toss well.
- Add dry ground spices and salt. If you are looking for a kick of warming spices, add a pinch or two of garam masala. Cook on medium heat until the leaves turn a bight green. That’s it! The stems will be crunchy and the leaves wilted and bright.
- Serve with dal, dahi, warm chapatis and even a salad of sliced daikon radish.
- This recipe doesn’t have a fixed ratio of mooli vs beet leaves. You can use as much as you have; only use daikon greens, only beetroot greens or a mix as I did. Adjust salt after stir frying. Often if there aren’t enough leaves, grated daikon is added to the sabzi.
- I used mustard oil because it is very commonly used in the winters. Mustard oil is pungent. Smoking it reduces its pungency or so most north Indian cooks believe and do. I did the same, though it is not necessary. You can just as easily use any other cooking oil.