Some one was talking about mooli aur turai ki subzi the other day and I couldn't resist making it the very next day. This is a simple soup like curry with radish and sponge gourd slices stewed together with a light tempering of cumin seeds and green or red chilly. The simple clean flavors of both the frugal vegetables is to die for. Although, in this age and in this place (the national capital) nothing is frugal. Radishes and sponge gourds both come for Rs 60 a kilo, but the dish originated as a frugal meal I am sure. Also, I remember having it in hot summer days, this is supposed to be cooling and light , especially if taken with rice. I have tried this curry in a proper soup form and it was great. With a little boiled rice added to the soup it is a very light detox type meal. All desi, traditional flavors and super healthy. The curry is known as nenua mooli ki subzi in eastern UP, you might like to see nenua chana ki subzi and nenua chana daal ki subzi and nenua pyaz ki subzi in reference to this.
Interestingly, my MIL also used to make this curry and in exactly the same way as my mother. Arvind's family is punjabi but they have stayed in UP for generations now, and have imbibed many local flavors as their own. Actually all the other three types of nenua ki subzi was made exactly the same way in every home I have been to. No one played with the recipes to spoil them as these were classics.
Some people like to have plain rice with this mooli nenua ki subzi and some like it more with roti, there are some people who just hate mooli so this curry is not for them. This flavor is an 'all or none' kinda food, you like it and crave for it or you just hate it and can't stand it. If you have had this curry in your childhood and been craving for it, here is this easy recipe that will take you back in time.
one large radish (long white variety if possible) about 200 gm
5 large sponge gourds about 600 gm
2 hot green chilies or to taste
one hot dry red chilly
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 tbsp mustard oil (do not replace this oil with any other is possible, the authentic taste is something you would love)
Peel, wash and slice the radish after slitting it length wise, so you get half moons or quarters. Thin round slices are also good.
Peel, wash and slice sponge gourd the same way you did with mooli (radish).
Heat the oil in a wide pan (kadhai) and tip in the cumin seeds and both types of chilies. Let them all splutter and then add the turmeric powder and immediately cover it with the sliced vegetables all at once. Add salt, stir and mix everything.
Cover and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Stirring once in a while in between. The vegetables are watery in this case so you wont need to add any water, the fresh vegetables are so watery that the contents of the pan become all liquid after 10 minutes or so. Cook till everything is soft and the consistency you prefer. Some people like it soupy and some people like it dry, almost looking like a scramble of sorts. Your choice.
The curry has a hint of mooli but it doesn't stink as many think. I love mooli any which way but you have a fair chance with this curry even if you hate mooli. Try once and see if you can make peace with mooli this way.