Monday, March 03, 2008

Watermelon Radish Parathas

mooli ke parathe

There were exactly three types of parathas made in our home - alu, methi, and gobi. If there had been any other types, then clearly I have forgotten. In contrast, I have been quite a rebel adventurer. Spinach, cabbage, paneer, beets, pumpkin, cheese, broccoli, peas, dals, mint, chutneys, molagaipodi, even leftover sabjees, have all had played a part in my parathas at some time or the other, with varied results. At this, Musical might just yawn and say, "So what? We make parathas with almost anything". Of course she does, but considering what I grew up with, this is quite a repertoire.

Stuffed Radish Parathas

A paratha related mini-obsession started recently when a friend was visiting our area during Christmas break last year. We met for lunch at a basic, almost divey, Indian restaurant where we could eat good food, and talk for a long time without being bothered. The meal included giant parathas - I had gobi and she had mooli, and of course we tasted both. I liked the gobi, but the mooli one with a generous filling of spiced radishes was so good that I wished that I had ordered that one instead.

Very soon I was hankering for it at home, and wanted to give it a try. It was further fueled when my friend and I reminisced about the parathas we had. I used to make mooli parathas years ago, but because I found it difficult to make the stuffed ones, (this was just for mooli, not other types of parathas) I used to go the lazy route and mix in grated daikon radish with flour and spices to make the dough for the parathas. In fact this was many times a quick weeknight dinner that didn't need much planning if there was a white radish in the fridge. Somewhere along the way, I stopped making these and had even forgotten about them, but after tasting the wonderful stuffed parathas at the restaurant I realized how much better they tasted, with the filling sandwiched between the dough, giving you a little crust and a little taste of the vegetable in each bite. Soon I was on a mission to find out how to get the stuffed ones right. Once again, I tried to roll them out by filling the radish mixture into a ball of dough but the shreds kept leaking out and making a mess on the board. A big salaam to those who are able to roll those out, but I have just not been able to do that well. That is when Musical's "two layered parathas" really came to the rescue by working as perfectly as she describes. So a big Thank You, Musical!

For my paratha experiments, I used watermelon radishes (see note at end) just because I happened to have a bunch of them, an added bonus of which is that the filling looks very pretty when the parathas is torn off. One can use any kind of radish, larger ones being better because they are easier to grate.

There are all kinds of recipes for the filling, with additions ranging from turmeric to grated onion, so I decided to try out a few. In the first batch I tried Musical's combination of garam masala and red chili powder, and in the second batch I used Saffronhut's combination of ginger, green chilies and cilantro. I preferred the heat of red chili powder over that of green chilies, but I enjoyed the flavor of ginger. I am neutral about the cilantro as it did not seem to add much but wasn't bad. What I have given below is what I tried in the third batch, and liked a lot, but I might try other versions in the future. Ultimately, there is not one right thing, so experiment, have fun, and let your taste buds and mood decide. Do you have a favorite combination that you would like to share?

In a paradoxical way, while on one hand this is free form cooking at its best, it needs lots of practice to get it just right.

Mooli Paratha: the making of

Stuffed Radish Parathas / Mooli Parathas


1-1/2 cups grated radish, not tightly packed
salt to taste
3/4 teaspoon red chili powder to taste
1/4 teaspoon mild garam masala
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
2 cups atta
salt to taste
a little oil for the dough
oil or ghee for the parathas


Place the grated radishes in a sieve or colander over a bowl, and add salt to it. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. The salt will draw out moisture from the radishes. Squeeze the radishes by hand, and collect the squeezed water in the bowl.

Use this water to knead the dough using flour and salt, adding more regular water as required. When the dough is kneaded smooth smear the ball of dough with a touch of oil. Divide the dough into 8 pieces of equal size.

Mix the grated radish with red chili powder, garam masala and grated ginger.

Start heating a tava.

Roll out one of the pieces of dough to about 6 inches round and keep it on a plate. Roll out another piece to about the same size. Spread about a fourth of the filling on it, leaving a small edge all around. Top with the previously rolled out roti, gently press the edges together, and roll lightly with the rolling pin just a little more until the 3 layers are held together. Put the paratha on the heated tava and cook on both sides. Drizzle a little oil around the edge if you like. I just like to brush some ghee on the paratha after it is done. Repeat this exercise with the rest of the dough and filling.

Serve with chutney, pickles, yogurt. For an added indulgence, try sour cream or crème fraîche.

Watermelon Radishes

In the last year or two I have been buying watermelon radishes from the farmers market whenever I see them. They taste very similar to regular radishes, maybe even a tad sweeter, but they look absolutely gorgeous. They have a greenish white skin, and inside they are a bright fuschia or deep red in color, and when sliced, they look like tiny watermelon wedges. For a simple but striking salad, I peel and slice them thin, and sprinkle a little coarse salt and ground black pepper which looks almost like seeds on them.

Watermelon Radishes: Farmers Market Find


Asha said...

Watermelon in paratha is very creative! Good one!:

evolvingtastes said...

Ayyo, no! This is not watermelon, but a variety of radishes that is called 'watermelon radish' because it looks like that from inside. All other properties are that of radish.

Vaishali said...

The parathas look absolutely delicious. And I agree that it's great fun to experiment with all kinds of fillings!

TheCooker said...

Love the watermelon radishes. Upwarewale ne phorsat mein banaye.
Just as gorgeous are those parathas.
My salaam to you.

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

wow!!!!!! Love those watermelon radishs! Have never tasted them, though. WIll pick them up next time I go to the market. Thanx :)

Cham said...

Great looking watermelon radish. I want to try this veg for the color and look :)

Richa said...

they look soooo pretty :) radish salad is just sooo yum!
henckels ;)
when using green chili, i make a paste, a lil' more work though ;)

evolvingtastes said...

Vaishali, welcome to my blog! I noticed that you have 'radish flatbreads' on your blog as well, which so look so good too.

tc, aren't they just pretty? An example of how small things can get us so excited.

Ramya, they taste very similar to regular radishes, but their looks are the draw.

Cham, thanks. Glad to have introduced you to it.

Richa, yes m'am, henckles. :)) You are incredible!

bee said...

i've never seen these radishes before. truly beautiful.

Mona said...

Me too, i never have seen these gorgeous Radishes anytime! I love stuffed parathas, especially aloo and mooli!

shriya said...

This is really a unique recipe. Radish watermelon is something really new to me.

musical said...

Those radishes are true beauties!!!! Farmers markets are truly amazing! Thanks, dear! Through your post, i enjoyed these gorgeous moolis and paranthas. My Dad occassionally mixes green chillies and radish greens with grated mooli, he once made that mix for me, i really enjoyed it. I have to try ginger in the mooli-parantha, your description makes me want to try it right away :).

musical said...

Oh, and some people make mooli paranthas after stir-frying grated mooli with turmeric, cumin seeds and red chilli powder. One of my friends used to make it that way :).

Anjali said...

ET, how wonderful that you were able to replicate that taste of those wonderful parathas! I had those several times again after that first visit with you-- they were so good and I just could not resist. And now you can make them at home! I am coming over to Califronia again!!

Anjali said...

oops, meant to say "California"... two finger typing, what can I say?

Suganya said...

These radishes taste good in salads. They are quite pricey too.

Sig said...

Wow, those are some pretty radishes... I have never even heard of these before!

Kate / Kajal said...

i've never seen moolis that look like that . I must say as the page was opening up and i could just read watermelon , radish parathas... n i was like hmmmm watermelon !!! haha ...
but these look gr8 !

madteaparty said...

What pretty little radishes! Stuffed paranthas are totally worth the effort. I too have gotten lazy where mooli paranthas are concerned, and just knead the grated mooli into the dough...but the stuffed ones are much tastier!

Bindi said...

That is a gorgeous radish!! Your recipe is so simple...I think I will have a go at it.

hmmmm...people should really read the whole post before commenting!! *lol*
at the 1st comment!

evolvingtastes said...

bee, you sure love a good radish don't you? Perhaps you can plant these this year. :D

Mona, welcome here. Look for these are farmers markets, I have yet to see them elsewhere.

shriya, thanks.

musical, thanks to YOU and your photo tutorial that I could enjoy these parathas!! Mixing in radish greens sounds great, and so does your other recipe. Thanks, thanks.

Anjali, you know you are always welcome to visit anytime, but now that I have written down the recipe you can make these at home too. :)

Suganya, I guess I have been fortunate to find these reasonably priced. Btw, the leaves can be used in sautes too.

Sig, aren't they cute? (OK I should stop that now, but every commenter seems to be saying it, and I am echoing it.)

Kate / Kajal, welcome to my blog, and thanks.

Anita, I only realized the difference when I ate the stuffed one. btw, mooli parathas is another of those things that I have never eaten in India, not even while traveling in the north (what a useless creature I am).

Bindi, welcome here. Let me know if you try it. Are you a blogger? You don't have to be, but there was no link to your profile so I couldn't tell.

Anonymous said...

u have a nice recipe,but i will give u an easy and delicious too. give seasoning of jeera and put the grated radish,fry for 2 mins ,then add ginger-chilli paste and again fry for 2 mins.Then stuff and make like aloo parathas. so u end up saving time of making 2 parathas for one .

evolvingtastes said...

anonymous(!?), that sounds good, thanks for the recipe.

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