mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Moongre ki Subzi (Radish Pods)

In Edible Flowers, Low Fat, Potatoes, Punjab, Rajasthani, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

radish blooms

I seem to gravitate towards strong tasting vegetables – the pungent and very-brassica smells and tastes my husband likes to categorise as oogra. Nothing brings out the link between all the diverse members of the brassica family (such as broccoli, kohlrabi, haak, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, mustard, kale, and collard) like their flowers and seeds. All of them have the characteristic four-petal blooms (thus the name crusiferae – from ‘cross’ – for this group of plants, also collectively called the mustard family) and the brown-to-black oval-spherical seeds borne in tapering bean-like seedpods (a silique). Maybe now Nabeela will see why I first identified the mustard pods in her quiz as radish pods. The flowers vary in colour from white or cream to lavender or yellow, and are all edible!

moongre
In North India radish pods are known as moongre. They are crunchy with a strong radish taste. They come in varying length – while the long ones have obviously been bred for easy handling (they are sold in bundles) I find their long tails quite fibrous and the pods themselves less flavourful. I favour the shorter kind (2-5 inches in length) that can be found piled for sale in the street-side vegetable markets.

You can eat moongre raw or cooked. As a kid I have munched on many in my Dad’s kitchen garden. He loves sharp flavours and used to make a chutney by pounding these with some green chillies, and mixing in salt and yoghurt. Radish pods are also great in salads and stir fries.

While I love their texture and flavour, I cannot guarantee you will. Just as for cabbage and radish, there will always be two camps for this too. As usual, I am in a camp of one :roll: in my family. Yet I love it enough to make it a few times every year; the other camp has agreed to endure it those few times. For them, I put in an additional potato.

You can make this with the everyday zeera (cumin) -hing-haldi-mirch tadka. But this present version is based on my recollection of what was served to us many years ago at Indore. My friend Prati and I were there for some work and were staying with her sister’s family. Her sister’s mother-in-law, who is originally from Rajasthan, cooked this dish with lots of garlic, which is favoured in much of that State. The chilli quotient was also significant. I have always cooked moongre like this ever since.

moongre subzi
Moongre ki Subzi
(Radish pods)
Serves 4

250 gms fresh radish pods
1-2 potatoes
1 T grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 T oil
1 t cumin seeds
pinch of hing
1/2 t turmeric
1 1/2 t coriander powder
1 t red (cayenne) chilli powder
salt
coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish

Rinse the radish pods. Top and tail them. Snap into 1-1 1/2″ lengths. Peel and cube the potatoes.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the cumin seeds followed by hing, then garlic and ginger. Once the garlic is fragrant add the chopped tomatoes. Stir and cook till the tomatoes turn to mush and the oil begins to surface. Add a pinch of salt if the mush starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add turmeric, coriander powder, and red chilli powder, in that order. Give a stir and let fry for a few seconds till the spices are cooked, taking care to not let the chillies burn. Add the prepared vegetables. Sprinkle salt and mix. Cover and cook till potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

moongre subzi
Moongre aur aloo ki subzi, nani-wali dal, Pachranga mango pickle, and roti

I like to cook till there is still a slight crunch to the radish pods. It is hard to overcook them, but keep an eye nevertheless. Serve with roti, dal, dahi, and any North Indian pickle.

Some gardening history (with recipes) of this humble vegetable.

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  1. Bah. What is the point, you tell me? What is the point in posting recipes about veggies we will never see? And I hate you for having that glorious bush in your yard! Radish pods, it seems. Radish is a root. Under the soil. Bah.

    Jokes apart, is this a radish that Jains can eat? Above ground and all that? You must make this for me when I come to stay at your place for a couple of years. And roti for me every day, too. I will always be fairly and squarely in your camp, just a little less of the chilli powder for me.
    :lol: Hold it, girl! Hate is a strong word! Part of my job here is to also disperse gyan ( :D ) …just like you! Remember your black pearls? I would have never sought them out if I hadn’t heard about them over at your own gyan-dispersing blog!

    If you seek, you shall find… this rat-tail radish! Yes, it is not commonly found. Of course, you could always grow some daikon (mooli) and let it go to seed…. :D

    It has a short season here – just in winter. So time your visit accordingly. I’m waiting. (Oooh, there’s other things I want to make her eat… he he he)

  2. I am hearing this name for the first time Anita. When I was a kid, I had grown radish at home. But I didn’t know these pods could be used in any dishes. Good one.

    You bring out such a great info about North Indian food and culture, which I have not seen in any books that I read. I have learned a lot from here. Thanks a lot

    Now you have to save some radishes so they can go to seed!

  3. What? Radish pods?

    So what if I don’t know much about photography?! :D

  4. Wow ! you make subji of this, thats nice to know. at my home we used to eat it as raw in salad dish and it tastes good on winter days … thanks for sharing Anita.

    Aren’t they great raw? That chutney is good too.

  5. Anita, once again, kudos on beautifully featuring a local specialty. I don’t think I have had the pleasure of tasting these, but will be on the lookout for these now that I know what to do with it.

    Manisha, fret not – apparently it is available occasionally in the US too, sold as “radish pods”, yes, as well as “rat-tail radish” (yikes, that name alone is a turnoff), but I have never seen them.

    Thanks, ET.
    Maybe one of you can grow it (whoever has the longer growing season) and share it with all the curious ones here. And with those in shock.
    :D

  6. radish pods????? radish pods??????? radish pods????????
    :lol: Yes, radish pods!

  7. oh my … do you burn sage in your house after that? :D *flees*

    I didn’t want to mention in the post, but I knew which camp you were in. But, beware – you are inching towards this side what with cauliflower and cabbage (not to mention brussel sprouts, cauliflower greens cooked haakesque!)…

  8. I have these in my fridge – I bought them thinking they were some sort of underdeveloped beans!

    Yay, you can try this right away!

  9. havent seen till now …..wonderfulll recipe

    Look for it – and there are many tasty ways with it… you like radish?

  10. Goodness… you’d become a great friend of my dad’s. He is known to eat pods, roots, leaves and such :-) Much like you. Why didnt I know of this when I was in India?
    Thanks to ET maybe I might have the good fortune to lay my hands on the pods soon.

    And may I congratulate you on the dill-dosa going places?! Great work, Ashwini!

  11. This post really made me emotional! Moongre aloo! Anita, send some over, i am getting hungry for those! This combo is one of typical winter-time things! You know, you can add those Punjabi wadis to this as well. And while its still in season, pls. pls. make some moongre-mirchi chutney and have my share too! I love those tiny far moongre too, they are so good to munch on with salt and green chillies :-D

    A big hug to you for this!

    I knew this would make you home-sick! (And Meeta may be right along…)
    Thanks for the wadi tip. I believe these may be cooked with mangodis as well – and I have tamatar mangodis that I needed a recipe for!

    And I promise to make the chutney. Hugs to you too!

  12. Guess what Anita!? I’ve eaten these! Last year at the farmers’ market one of the Thai/Lao/Hmong vendors was selling these and of course curiosity…she didn’t know what to call them in English, but said they could be eaten raw or stir-fried, and that they were hard to find (a good selling point!). So, of course I took a “bouquet” home with me…and did a simple stir-fry with lemongrass, garlic and chiles. They are indeed delicious! D and I kept eating them raw. :-) If I find them again I’ll be sure to try your marvy-sounding recipe.

    Trust you to have eaten these!
    And, don’t forget, you could grow them! Look at the blooms! (It’s not my yard, BTW. It’s by the side of the mustard field featured in the other post. She thinks I have a yard?! Yes, the size of a handkerchief!)

  13. Hmmm Novice cook here. Loved your blog for a long time :o) I’ve actually never heard or used Radish pods…I might have to ask my mom to enlighten me and ask her where I can buy it. Beautiful pics btw :o)

    Hi, Anuzi!

    If you like radish, you’ll love this. Unlike over-cooked radish, this does not get mushy.

  14. wow! ur subzi looks soooo good :) been ages since i had moongre.
    back home, i’ve always had the short/plump kind, never came across the long bundled kind u mentioned.

    I knew the Punjus would get all nostalgic.

    The long ones are comparatively a newer breed. I buy only when I have no chance of getting to the street-market, but end up chopping them in half to trim the long fibrous tail, especially if they have sat in the fridge for a day!

  15. Hi Anita,
    BAchpan yaad aa gaya. My mom made this and she and dad loved it. Called it mongre aloo. I did not like it. Its been ages since i tasted it. Mom does not make it when i visit bocs i dont like it. But thanks for bringing back so many warm memories.

    Ah, another nostalgia-struck one here!
    Try it now, maybe you have outgrown your childhood dislike.

  16. Anita, never heard or seen them, will have to check with grandmom though, maybe she has :)

    Wherever there were radishes in kitchen gardens, there would have been moongre! Ask her about these, and maybe we can have another traditional recipe!

  17. Oogra the better, I say.
    When I saw the thali, wondered if that was nani-wali-daal (aka Anita-wali-daal), and it was!
    Wonder where ET spied those pods…need to hop over to her blog.

    The dal is a great combination with most Punjabi dishes and is practically no-work and zero-fat!

    Scouring the farmers markets near the Thai/Asian sellers might do the trick. Maybe even ask them – they might be keeping all for their own consumption!

  18. P.S. How many quizzes have you won this past year?!!! And why does TLO get to stay for two years; two years’ worth of fine-lookin’ roti and regular chhole…it’s not fair! She hasn’t won a quiz lately… :-D

    The roti-making duties will have to be split… but I am adhering to her advice to cook these all at once for the day (instead of the three times that I used to!).

    She wins awards, you know. And quizzes too, if she gets to choose the prize! ;-)

  19. Let it be known now, once and for all, that I don’t do quizzes. Hear one, hear ye, hear all, hear Pel.

    ET, thank you! I shall have to rephrase my first comment to read thus: What is the point in posting recipes with veggies we will seldom see even though it has been documented as a vascular plant by CU. So maybe I will try growing it this year. Like how I grew vaal, amaranth, bitter melon and spinach last year.

    That’s the spirit! Grow it yourself! Sow in a sunny spot and how beautiful it will look!
    And think how close you would have been to your food – a worthwhile cause. (You could always ask at the Asian market too…). You’ll like the taste, I can tell.

  20. i get an education each time i come to your blog…. i have never seen them in hyd… but looks good….am sure stir fries with this would be great too…

    :D This might be a more obscure vegetable down South. Ask around, and maybe you can find it. Any friends visiting from Delhi? It was not unusual for relatives visiting us from Srinagar to carry haak, and nadur for us! Bundles of them!

  21. your photos are real feast for the eyes!! really stunning!! i must admit i love this post, for a veggie lover like me discovering new stuffs like this makes me happy, frustrating though that i need to go to india to taste them :-) anyways its one of the country i’m dying to visit one day!!

    Thanks! I am sure you could find these where you are…else, just use the recipe as a guide to prepare some other veggie combination and you’ll still have a Rajasthani dish!

  22. Yes, TLO. I do remember your outstanding gardening ventures from last year. Still waiting for you to post those recipes for sedum subzis! :-D

    She did take us thru her garden…

  23. I did try them today, running back and forth between the kitchen and the computer, battling electricity cuts in between. I am liking it! :)

    I’ve seen them on and off in the last few months, even the salespeople didn’t know what they were! But of course, they wouldn’t say so!

    Yay, another radish lover! I keep seeing new vegetables in my market here as well – like these plump short pea-like pods… but don’t know what they are. The shopkeeper tells me the name that I cannot deciper… will try again. [maybe I should just post a picture here, and we will all know before long! now, that's an idea!]

  24. A visit to your blog makes me realise my ignorance….And it is not bliss.Thank you Anita!

    But, now you know! There’s just too many unfamiliar things out there…

  25. Never have seen this veggie anytime in any gricery shops when i was in Hyderabad, or here in Canada. But it looks too good. The pictures are too good Anitha, Very appealing !

    It may be more a North Indian favourite. But ask for them and see if some vendor can find you a local source. They taste just like mooli.

  26. Oye!!!!!
    I am in your camp too!!!
    But I like them only once a while… :D
    But still I do like them.. one of thew few green veggies I likey ;)
    Interesting read that!

    ;-) I would have them once a week… if I could. :-( The season seems to be almost over.

  27. Radish pods Anita?? Those almost look like green beans… i could’nt tell the difference if u had not mentioned! They look divine! And the sabji – actually whole thali looks too delicious! Wish we would get these exotic veggies here!

    Grow your own next season! That’s what we foodies have to do sometimes. :D

  28. And BTW, that mango pickle is totally making my mouth water- homemade?

    No, it isn’t… Pachranga is the brand name of a very famous pickle brand, and they are most famous for this mango pickle. My mum’s come darn close (in taste) but not close enough for TH. You never will get the factory-made-with-cheap-mangoes-taste in the homemade kind… just like homemade chaat can never taste as good as the one by the street side!

    I can share my mum’s recipe if you like?

  29. Ha ha! blogs and coincidences never fail to amuse me! I saw this in the market and as I always am was immediately attracted to this strange veggie which I had never seen before coming to Delhi. So I bought it and my maid told me it’s called mongra and is “radish flowers”. I looked at her so disbelievingly, it took her 10 minutes to convince me. She told me about the preparation with aloo – but I wanted something else. I remembered a yum recipe for gawar which you had posted and looked it up here. I didnt have the ghati masala and the Goda masala of course, so I changed the recipe and made a sort of Indo-Indonesian fusion veggie, with sesame, chilli powder, peanuts ….suffice to say, that it was for a girlie lunch and I have no snaps to show because it got cleaned up!

    Thanks for showing me the source and my Monday laugh! ;)

    You must share the recipe! Even if there are no pics! I can imagine that the combination of those spices with the crunchy moongre has got to be good!

  30. We got this last year… didn’t know what to do with it… threw it into some sabji… now I’ll make it properly :-)

    Try the chutney too!

  31. Somehow I knew you would definitely do a post on this. Nice combination.
    That thali looks mouth-watering :-)

    It is great to see you here again, Krithika!! (I must make aloo papad – then she’ll come!)

  32. I learn something new everytime I visit.

    Likewise, over at your space!

  33. Of course, yes…please do share your mother’s recipe for the aam ka achaar! Er…did she actually share the WHOLE recipe with you though? LOL

    There is always that! :lol:

  34. I love Moongreli myself, though we usually have a simple sauteed veggie with zeera, heeng and chilli powder so I can taste the veggie better. The chutney idea of your dad’s sounds interesting. I’ll try that out and…it just occurred to me, I should also try making a chutney out of garlic pods and onion pods – should be yummy.

    A little garlic doesn’t mask this veggie! Try the chutney and variations as you like…

  35. Wow….some different sabzi to think about!!! Had heard of radishes…never radish pods.

    And another good one it is, I promise. :D

  36. radish pods!!??!! i dont think we get them in this part of the world!! love the nani -wali – dal recipe!!

    If you get radish, you should (potentially) get these too! Easiest dal, no?

  37. Anita this is a spectacular post. You don’t know the camp on your side includes a lot of Gujjus. They love these and this bhaaji is called Mogri nu shaak. My I have seen women going crazy over these pods at bora bazaar in Fort Mumbai when in season. I have forgotten the taste :(

    You can’t find it in Bangalore? i would love to know the different ways to prepare this.

  38. Hi anita
    You reminded me of India. Here, we dont get radish so dont make it, but back home we used to make them. Nice post and good to see a lot of surprises, too!

    (There are surprises here? Other than the radish pods?)

  39. Dear Anita, how beautiful—my tent is solidly in your camp!

    My camp is growing! Long live the mustard and its ilk!

  40. Last time I had more radish flowers and these seed pockets than actual radishes. I had no idea what to do with those. I used the leaves for haak (thanks to your post) but they will be well used next time.

    Now you know that is not a bad thing! And if next time you get to harvest the radishes, remember to let a few go to seed!

  41. That meal looks so satisfying. There’s something about a balanced Indian homecooked meal that never fails to attract. Your Subji looks so wholesome.

    Isn’t simple everyday homey food the most comforting? This falls right in that category.

  42. wow your picture has captured the winter patch so well, I want one now. Radish pods and the sabzi look fabulous :)

    :)
    But all good things come to an end…and the winter patch is dissolving fast – we are fully into spring now. It sprung on us before we knew. Something tells me spring is going to be short lived…

  43. i agree with manisha.. if i am not gonna find it, why read abt it? just kidding! gyan or not, it looks like another great subji.

    I know you are just jealous ;-) !
    Besides do you hear me complain about all those delicious things with seafood you (and Sig) keep dangling – I don’t even know how to pick prawns :-( ! …or crabs, or… ;-)
    Further to that, you can find anything (even God) if you really look! Pel has already tasted these!

  44. Hey I did try this once, n you know what….I chopped it soooooo fine that it sappped all my energy, n I vowed never to make it again, but I am gng to try it your way now.

    :lol: But I know what you mean – that is why the loooong ones have become more popular – much easier to grab a bunch and chop chop chop. Longer sections work just fine.

  45. I haven’t spotted Mogri in blr. I must look more carefully for it I might get it. What I remember is most of the time my neighbor, Kaki used to make it like a simple stir fry with mustard takda and dhania-jeera-red chili powder OR just kachu paku ie. barely cooked in bit of oil with red chili powder. It resembles a fresh pickle or spicy salad with a squeeze of lemon juice, the crunch intact. If you have seen or tasted the fresh turmeric salad the gujjus make then you can make mogri the same way. Yet I don’t remember the taste!!!

    Thanks for the recipe tips, Anjali. And I hope you can find them to revisit the taste. The best thing about finding them in Bangalore would be that you could have them year round, as is the case with most veggies there I am told.

  46. How fascinating! I never knew …

  47. I recently joined a local CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) group and they gave me these. I am glad I found this recipe.
    Thanks a lot.

    I hope you enjoyed the dish!

  48. Hi,

    this is for all those who cant seem to find the pods… Grow your own!!! I too dont see radish pods where I live, but do get moolies (radishes) in the Indian stores so am planning to experiment with the following method- my baby sitter (who’s from punjab) tells me her husband has done this and reaped pods too…

    If you can get radish in the market place, get a couple big fat ones (preferably with a few leaves still intact). Chop off the bottom half of the mooli and sow them. You should be able to reap the flowers (which are edible too) and pods once the plants grow. Ofcourse no moolies from this planting.

    Besides, if you dont get radishes, then I would try to get hold of seeds to grow them (or ask your gardener in India to supply some)- many online seed retailers also offer them.

    Hope you all find this helpful :)

    Thanks for all the tips and pointers! I might want to try planting the radish tops next year myself!

  49. Oh Anita! Lookit!

    So, you were complaining for no reason. Bah. :D
    And, you are welcome.

  50. Thats quite a new dish to me. Had never heard of moongre before. I wonder if i can find it in the stores here. But the plate looks very tempting. Especially your pickles.

    If you have radhish, you can have moongre! Ask your green-grocer about them.

  51. Oh, moongre!! I absolutely love them, more so now that I’m here in the US and they are not freely available. Found the frozen purple variety in the Indian store..aaloo-tamatar-moongre ki sabzi! Mom used to make a much more liquid version, but yours looks equally delightful.

    Great blog.

    I am told you can cook them with wadiyan as well! Will be trying that next year.

  52. [...] Moongre ki Subzi (from a blog called Mad Tea Party) (Radish pods) Serves 4 [...]

  53. Here in the Pacific NW of the USA, my radishes frequently bolt into flowering before I can harvest the roots…
    So I’ve learned to use the leaves in soups & stir-fries & the pods that way as well.
    The radish flavor comes across well, so I don’t use too many at once…Most other American gardeners are surprised that the other parts are edible. Perhaps they are not used to trying new recipes!
    Now I can try them in Indian spices too.
    Thanks for the cooking ideas.KMC

    Garden fresh produce is always so much more flavourful – so a little goes a long way, and more so with the potent radish! I hope you try the recipe(s) and like it! Some of us are always on the lookout for new ways!

  54. hi Really loved the recipe. Radish pods are made in Maharashtra in a similar way except that potatoes and tomatoes are’nt used..

  55. I used pod radishes for the first time yesterday. Was wondering what to do with them and by instinct went with the usual ‘aloo ke saath’ waali subzi:). Turns out it is the correct way! They taste great.

  56. [...] my friend Pratibha here: A Delhi Summer, Appams with avial, Palak-Panir, and moongre ki sabzi.  She was an irregular reader of this blog but did leave a comment once.  Prati, you are missed [...]

  57. Oooh, thanks. I grew a few of these plants as an experiment, after I heard they were good at repelling cucumber bugs. Now everytime I pass by the garden I find myself picking another handful, and I was not entirely sure what to do with them.

    Don’t they have such an intense radish-taste!

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