Browsing through an Asian store, we picked up a daikon, which I would soon experiment with pickling. Before that though, it had to satiate a craving for both my husband and me. Both of us like when white radishes are stewed in with daals or lentils. I even love when it is added to the fish stew that my mother makes of “Bombay Duck” (yes, it is a fish… common to the waters of west coast of India, near Mumbai). So while I don’t get Bombay ducks here in Michigan, I could definitely try the daikon with daal, making a rasam. Here’s how I went ahead.
2-3 cups of half-sliced daikon
1 cup toor/ pigeon pea daal
2 green chillies
1 tbspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
5 pinches of asafoetida
10-15 curry leaves
1 red chilli
1-2 tbspoons of soaked tamarind pulp OR 2-3 tbspoons of lemon juice
2-3 tbspoons of rasam curry powder (available in Indian stores. I used the one by MTR. It is optional in a way. Without it the end product may not be ‘rasam’ but you would still have a tasty, perhaps a bit less spicy daal soup/ stew)
- Soak daal in warm water for about 30 minutes.
- Combine soaked daal, turmeric, and three pinches of asafoetida along with chopped tomato, half-sliced daikon, half-slit green chillies in a pressure cooker. Add a glass of water, and cook till 3-4 whistles. In regular pot it would take about 20-30 minutes.
- In another pot, warm oil for preparing a tempering/ tadaka. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 2 pinches of asafoetida, curry leaves, chopped garlic, and a red chilli to the oil and stir till spices give off aromas.
- Over this tempering, mix in the cooked daal, daikon, and tomato mix, along with its juices.
- Whisk everything together. Add salt to taste, rasam powder (if you have any), and soaked tamarind pulp/ lemon juice at this stage.
- Adjust the water to your liking and let everything come to boil. After that put it on a low-medium heat/ flame to simmer for few more minutes and tale it off the stove.
It can be enjoyed simple as a soup or as entree with rice. I had it with fenugreek-flavored mix of red and brown rice. Just add 2 tbspoons of fenugreek seeds and dried fenugreek leaves (available in Indian and Mediterranean stores) with a dash of olive oil into the pot in which your rice is cooking. It adds a subtle taste to the simple pot of rice, which does not require salt.