We all know the benefits of eating vegetables but finding fun and interesting ways of including these in the dinner menu can be a challenge. I for one, hold to eating whole foods and not ‘faux’ foods and so I tend to cook with the whole vegetable.
Radishes, the long white ones found in the Asian market is not a veggie we easily reach for in produce aisle. But this unassuming, slightly pungent root vegetable packs more health benefits than you may suspect - aiding digestion, fat burning and being low on the glycemic index, it’s a negative calorie food. This means you burn more calories digesting radishes than they actually contain! I wish the same could be said for that lovely crusty bread with a thick slab of butter.
In this recipe, the radishes is paired with long Asian eggplants which also brings a wide range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to the table. This Indian style recipe with this unique pairing of vegetables is incredibly delicious, using a lovely blend of spices and coming together in a quick 30 minutes.
So if you’re looking for a delicious albeit unique addition to your vegetarian menu, I think you’ll this vegetable fits the bill quite nicely.
MOOLI BAINGAN SABZI | Indian Style Radish & Eggplant Vegetable
By Devaki Das
1 long white radish
2 long Asian eggplants
1 sprig fresh curry leaves (available at Indian grocery stores)
2 ripe plum tomatoes
1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 Thai green chili
3 tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
¾-1 tsp red chili powder (depending on tolerance to heat)
2 tsp salt
Radishes: Peel, cut and discard the ends. Cut lengthwise and then cut each half into ¼” thick semi-circles. Set aside in a bowl until ready to use.
Eggplant: Discard the woody top. Halve lengthwise and then cut into 1” thick semi circles. Set aside in a separate bowl until ready to use.
Tomatoes: Chop tomatoes and set aside.
Thai green chili: Slit down the middle and set aside. Do not chop. If you do, it will make the dish unbearably hot as you release the capsaicin in full force!
Before you begin on the stove, have the radishes, cumin seeds, spice blend and curry leaves immediately at hand.
In a heavy bottom large sauté pan, add the olive oil and heat until hot. Add the cumin seeds and as soon as it sputters, add the spice blend. Stir and immediately add the radishes and continue stirring to coat the radishes. Do not burn spices.Add the curry leaves and green chili along with ¼ cup of water. Stir to combine.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium low heat for approx. 10 minutes or so until the radishes are crunchy tender. The vegetable is done if it is easily pierced with a knife.
Add the eggplant and tomatoes and stir to combine. Return the lid to the pan and cook for another 12-15 minutes or so until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked.
You should not need to add water as the tomato juices lend enough moisture. However, if the veggies are sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 2 tbsp. water and continue cooking.
Garnish with a little chopped cilantro if desired.
Taste and adjust seasonings and serve with traditional Indian bread - rotis, whole wheat tortillas or rice.