Relishing the Radish

mujj chatin

Here is another Kashmiri vegetarian recipe. It is special because it is one of the few accompanying dishes that make up Kashmiri cuisine. The rest of India has a mind boggling variety of things to be ‘served on the left side’ of the thali. Let me explain this. There is a specific sequence to serving food in Maharashtra. You start with a bit of salt on the left side. This is the side reserved for all accompaniments: chutneys, pickles, wedges of lemon, koshimbirs (salads) or raitas. Bhajjis (pakoras), if part of the meal, will also find room here. Next will be a katori of daal, and then to the right of the thali is the main subzi. Rice and roti are towards the lower centre of the thali. The sweet, somewhere in the middle, is always served along with the meal. Even for everyday meals you will have something served on the left, even if just a pickle, though chutneys are served frequently. It would sadden my MIL to serve just a pickle ‘daavi kade‘ (on the left side!).

I have no idea why the Northern most state of our country is so lacking in this category. Maharashtra, Gujarat and all the Southern states lay as much emphasis on this ‘side’ to introduce a complexity of texture and flavour into their cuisine. It might have something to do with Kashmiris being obsessed with their meat or the harsh climate making cooking harder with women concentrating on getting the meat cooked in time for the unusually early meal times. Lunch, in most houses, would be ready and served before 10:00 in the morning. Everyone ate and went to work or school. Where was the time to sit and pound different things together in a pestle and mortar? The plentiful fresh fruits and vegetables such as radishes and cucumbers are perfect for snacking and getting the crunch that might have been missed at meal time.

Though there are just a few chutneys and raitas but these are much loved and used over and over. One loved vegetable is mooli (daikon radish). It is cooked with fish or nadur (lotus stem) to lip-smacking results. It is also the vegetable of choice for making our most popular raita – mujj chatin. For some reason it is called a chutney. Grated mooli added to thick salted dahi with chopped green chillies mixed in. Red chilli powder and a pinch of shah zeera (black cumin) is totally optional. This is the only Kashmiri dish in which I will use a garnish of coriander leaves. I love coriander, but it is not traditional to Kashmiri cuisine.

We make another side-dish with mooli, and strangely, this is also called mujj chatin. It is a simple dish of stir fried mooli with a hint of hing and a lot of Kashmiri red chilli. It combines well with plain dal. I usually pair it with Kashmiri moong dal (using my Nani’s recipe) and steamed rice. The dal has no red chilli and this is a perfect pairing. Comfort food at its best; yet again.

mujj chatin

Mujj Chatin 1
Stir Fried Radish Chutney

Use your own feel for the spicing. I am giving rough amounts here.

2-3 C grated radish (preferably daikon), grate using the coarse side
A few whole fresh red chillies (or green ones)
Pinch of hing
1 t cumin seeds
1 ½ t Kashmiri red chillies (the dish will get its colour from this)
1 ½ -2 T mustard oil (not too scanty)
Juice of half a tart lemon (2 T of tart)

Wash, scrape and grate the radish. Break the red or green chillies into two. In a karahi or heavy bottomed pan heat mustard oil to smoking. Add a pinch of hing followed by the cumin and the chilli pieces. Stir for a few seconds and add the red chilli powder. Stir quickly and add the grated radish. Red chilli powder can burn very quickly in hot oil so ensure that you have the radish ready to add to the oil. Give a stir to mix. Add salt and stir again. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir now and then to ensure even cooking and that the radish does not stick to the karahi. Turn off the heat once the radish is barely crisp (10-15 min). Mix in the lemon juice. It will finish cooking in the residual heat and yet not be mushy. Serve at room temperature with dal-chaval. Mujj chatin, any which way, can perk up a plain meal with the kick that it adds.

mujj chatin

Mujj Chatin 2
Radish Raita

1 C grated radish (daikon or red radish)
1 ½ C yoghurt
1-2 chopped green chillies
1/2 t shah zeera (black cumin) (optional)
chopped coriander and red chilli powder (to garnish)

Beat and salt the yoghurt. Mix in the grated radish and chopped green chillies. Garnish with coriander and red chilli powder. Chill and serve with any Indian meal.

Incidentally, despite all our differences, this is very similar to the Maharashtrian version. 🙂

Tags:Kashmiri, radish, raita, under 30 min

35 thoughts on “Relishing the Radish

  1. I’m the first! I’m the first to comment! Yay! OMG!

    Lunch before 10 am? What time do Kashmiris go to bed? No nightlife?

    Submitting this before some other bright upstart gets to comment first …

    🙂 Yes, you won!

    Breakfast was never cooked in the house; you’d get a tchot (roti, but baked) from the kandur/naanwayee, slather some butter and have it with kehva. With a heavy lunch at 10:00 you can imagine how much work got done! By 4:00 o’clock everyone would be already planning the trip back home! It’s too cold before 10 and again too cold after 4:00 I guess. We’d much rather sit drinking kehva, hugging those kangris inside our pherans!

  2. Phew! I think if I made your mujj chatin, it would be very pale. How does your stomach lining deal with all that chilli?

    So now I have to start begging for your Nani’s dal recipe? 😀

    My Mom did away with the daavi kade and ujvi kade and pali kade. No salt on the plate. But there was usually a quarter of a limboo and either a chutney or a pickle. Meals were simplified but there was always bhaji-poli and dal-bhath, and sometimes a salad or raita. There was always a huge bowl of rice. After Dad died, meals were even more simplified and I pretty much follow that pattern.

    The thing with the spicy hot things is that you are usually supposed to have only a little of it at one meal. There is usually one more subzi (since there is rarely ever dal!) which will be mild (may even be without any chilli, such as haak) and that helps. No pickle or chutney to spice it up! Yes, you are not supposed to cook 2 lbs (or was it 3?) of mince in one go unless it is a big dinner! 🙂

    You could always use carrots and make a ‘pretend’ mujj chatin! Kashmiris might mistake it for dessert though!

    That thali sequence used to be quite intimidating in the beginning with I being mortally afraid of reversing the whole thing. I would pause with the outstretched serving hand and think their-left – my-right 🙂 Even today if I put the subzi on the left, TH will rotate the thali so that it is ‘proper’. For no reason other than that he’s used to expecting the subzi there! He might mistakenly eat the chutney when he was supposed to go for the subzi, you see 😀 . Did you know that there is an inside to a roti and it should be folded one way and not the other (the thinner side inside I think)? I’ve seen my FIL flip the fold if I hand it out the other way!

  3. Mujj chetin-Anita, i made it this Sunday (the raita chetin). But i used red-radishes-they give an amazing color. Anyhow, this is a delish one 🙂 Thanks for posting this. BTW, as blasphemous as it sounds, i did try tschok gogoj-they taste yum to my palate (as naive as it is). Please post some tsur-tschut recipe :).

    The fried mooli-we have something similar too. Just sauted mooli with varri (spicy Punjabi varri/wadi)-called bhurji.

    I know what you meant by flipping the roti. In Punjabis too some people put ghee on one side and other communities on the reverse side…..and you should see how they react when served with chapatis folded/buttered on different sides :))

    But somehow, i am not much into rituals of serving… differs so much from culture to culture. and sometimes can be potentially threatening to the peace of mind :))

    Now I am really curious, girl. How do you know so many Kashmiri dishes? Yes, tchat gogji is good, but I’m surprised that a non-Kashmiri canlike it too! You have a thing for turnips, I can see that! And yes, tsur tchot as well. why not? It is, after all, my nephews’ favourite breakfast!

    We (I) don’t follow any rules either. But sometimes when we lose these symbolic things, we lose a little bit of our culture as well. But, that is perhaps, as it must be. These things were likely not ‘traditional’ a hundred years ago. So traditions change. And with our mixed cultural families, traditions will change faster. But it is interesting nevertheless.

    Later: you are saying tchok gogij – khatti (sour) shalgam. Hmm…there are so many variations that I have been deprived of!

  4. Oh! BTW-about Marathi style mooli-raita.

    Here’s my experience: Golden Girl who’s a very traditional Marathi, had this thing for the first time in her life at my place: The Mujj-chetin. and she really did make a face first: Mooli aur dahi-kabhi nahin!! and now, this is her favorite raita. May be she and Vaishali come from different parts of Maharshtra. But most Maharashtrians i know (through Golden Girl ofcourse) had never heard of it and found it blasphemous to mix dahi and mooli!

    That’s what I thought till I saw that post on Happy Burp a few months ago! Incidentally, Vaishali, based in Pune, may be a Kannadiga. Right Vaishali? But there is that belt at the border that must borrow freely from both sides, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

    Apparently, in one of the many migrations out of Kashmir, some of the Pandits are believed to have migrated to Maharashtra (Maharashtrians, naturally, say that they migrated to Kashmir 🙂 ). There is, thus, a historic/genealogical link between these two lines of Saraswat Brahmins. Manisha, we could be sisters! 😉 Perhaps, we carried mujj chatin with us!

  5. “How do you know so many Kashmiri dishes”

    Love for eating good food teaches everything :).

    I can only thank my friends from different parts of the country for bringing me close to their real cuisine. Indian cuisine in all its glory, i want t relish it every bit, one dish at a time :).

    “You have a thing for turnips”

    Ah! the ultimate compliment to an ex-turnip hater 🙂

    Well, just working my way out with different veggies i ignored for long. Mom used to say that God has made all these “mevaas(fruits)” for us to relish-if you don’t, means you are not enjoying the best of what life’s got to offer. As a kid, this philosphy didn’t make sense-but well now, i see what she meant.

    I know how friends’ lunch boxes can spoil you forever – nothing to do but to recreate those dishes in your own kitchen! That is how I got started on my South Indian (real) food trip.

    One day my son too may say the same for them turnips!

  6. Speaking as a Pandit, I’ve heard it said that we came from Kashmir several times over. Yes, we should trace lineage 😀

    Vaishali, I think, is Mahrashtrian but married into an amchi family from Bangalore. I’ve never come across muli in dahi, as a raita. Mulyachi bhaji smothered in dahi? That’s me. 😀

    And yes, rotis are ghee’d on the thinner side and folded such that the thinner side is on the inside. I’ve never thought about it but it makes sense. The thicker side holds in whatever heat is left, I guess. I stack my rotis when I make them and use no ghee, except on Medha’s rotis, but when I serve them, they are folded over, thin side inside. I can identify with your f-i-l flipping it over. It’s easier to tear that way, too. Otherwise you could end up with just the thin side in your hand.

    Arrey, I don’t have a Shaku to clean up after me. So when I cook I make the most of it. Each dish should go for at least 2-3 meals. Esp with meats. Besides everything I buy is supersized, thanks to Sam’s Club.

    Musical, I will say it again: you’re amazing! 😀 Even though I could potentially have Kashmiri lineage, I know nothing about Kashmiri food. I have to untangle my tongue after each dish that Anita writes about. And now you come along and tangle it right back with this tsur tchot. And to think that she had us convinced that she had exposed us to the expanse of Kashmiri cuisine. Thank God for you, musical 😉

    You won’t think it is great shakes when I do finally present the dal and the tchir tchot. In fact, Maharashtra already has a version of tchir tchot: it is the rice flour dirda without the garlic-sharlic – just red chilli powder (naturally!), zeera and salt, and pour it like the dirda – staring inthe centre and spiral outwards, usually in a clockwise direction:) . Use mustard oil, naturally 🙂 . The mustard oil is a great flavour and imparts a beautiful golden hue. Served with Kahva – heaven! Okay, so it is great shakes, but the dal really isn’t. Just that I really love it 🙂 , and now Anu too!

  7. “Arrey, I don’t have a Shaku to clean up after me. So when I cook I make the most of it. Each dish should go for at least 2-3 meals. Esp with meats”.

    Forget that, i don’t even have a dish-washer! These studios! But yeah, me too-every dish lasts me 2-3 meals or more :)).

    “And to think that she had us convinced that she had exposed us to the expanse of Kashmiri cuisine”.

    May be she plans to give these lil’ surprises every now and then 🙂

    am i an in-house Karamchand-i leave upto you to decide 😉

    You, talking to me? Or Manisha? 🙂

  8. No dishwasher? You’re not married yet, Musical? 😉

    Seriously! I went to this “Take back the Kitchen on your terms” (or some such) lunch seminar and most of the women were complaining: I don’t like to shop, I don’t like to cook, my family does not like what I put in front of them and so on. The only thing I could come up with was that I don’t like the clearing and clean-up thereafter. The speaker and told me to train my husband. What she didn’t know what that he used to but now, he’s quit.

    You might wonder why I went to the seminar. It’s at a wonderful organic vegetarian salad bar; I got to be with two of my girlfriends and meet several other women and have just excellent women time. 😀

    Now I can’t get that Karamchand music out of my head! Kar-am-chand…

    And you, talking to me?

  9. Hai Rabba, Manisha-every one seems to be asking that 😉

    Y’day someone left a comment on my blog with two burning questions:
    1. If i really cook these things first and then take pictures and post them on my blog!! (Nahin, farishte khana banate hain).

    2. If i am single (apparently a friend of the commenter was asking)!

    If only Karamchand was still an eligible bachelor 😉

    Okay, I give up!

  10. Yeah….Since I only cook for myself too generally(except sweets, which i give away most of to save calories and spread the joy), I can totally relate to cooking for a few days at a time…yes, more sometimes! When I get sick of a dish I freeze it. Some things don’t come back out of the freezer very well though I’ve found…rice doesn’t fare well at all, or pasta. I’ve been trying to make smaller-size dishes, like using one cup of beans/dhals instead of two. Speaking of dhals….yeah, Anita, when are we gonna get this Kashmiri moong dhal dish with no red chiles from your nani? And….
    Who is Karamchand?
    How does one pronounce “tchot?”

    BTW the radish stuff looks great!

    Thank you, Pel, for addressing part of your comment to me. 🙂

    How did you do with the ‘mutsch’ pronunciation? Actually, the sound “tch” does not exist in either Hindi or English. I think the name “tchur’ comes from the sound made by the batter touching a hot surface, the sizzling sound. So if you started to say ‘t’ but moved to ‘ch’ (as in chip) before saying it? – tchurrrrr tchot (the ‘o’ gets the sound of the letter ‘o’ but short). Get it? Good. 🙂

    I think it’s time to learn the phonetic symbols!

    That radish stuff tastes good too provided you relish cooked radish. Till I post my Nani’s dal, try is with rice and a plain yellow dal (maybe tuvar+masur, a pinch of heeng, and salt)

  11. Pel,

    Karamchand is the name of the main/lead character in a old Indian detective serial by the same name :)).

    A comic detective serial in which the carrot-eating-Karamchand has an assistant named Kitty. Both the actors are very talented and it was a rare Indian comedy which was not slap-stick funny.

  12. so, anita, what’s the smell factor? i’m willing to try this (i like the taste of radish) if it does not smell like skunk entered my house.

    I find the end-of-season radish to be stronger smelling. But for the cooked version, it doesn’t matter. Do keep the exhaust fan at high and the windows open! 🙂 And, as Musical notes, the dahi in the raita also helps mellow the radish flavour. If you have strong smelling radish on hand, you may salt and then squeeze out the water to reduce the full-blast radish smell. I think in the US you don’t have to worry on that account – it is always in-season there (somewhere)!

  13. Anita,

    He he , this one is really addressed to you 🙂

    How do you deal with threadjacks (hides for cover).

    …..With lots of love :).

    Bee: ah! mooli smells, but in a very delish way ;).

    Skunk! i protest, i protest!!

    After cooking or adding yogurt/dahi, the smell is cntrolled to a large extent. Incense comes to your aid as well. Go ahead bee, try it NOW!

  14. Anita that thali serving scares me even now. I care less to learn too I must say. I refer Annapoorna’s Pan kase vadhave when I have some elders over. My polis can never be paper thin like our marathi sadi poli so smartly I make ghadichi poli so noone finds out. I’m spilling beans here. Can you believe I volunteer at a temple whenever I can to serve food and still haven’t learnt. Somethings are just not for me. What a shame.

    You are the good marathi soon!

    Imagine how scary it must seem to someone who never before knew that there could me a manual for that!!

    I would think a lot of our customs and rituals came about to add interest to everyday humdrum stuff. The problem lies in sticking to them as hard-and-fast rules in today’s day and age.

    In fairness to my MIL, she accepted that if I was having a Kashmiri meal, I was going to serve rice first! What else could be the bed for my veggies – not the same in a katori!

  15. sorry forgot to add the curd is not visible. Is it used just to give a coat unlike the raita?

    Mujj Chatin 1 is the stir fried kind – no dahi.
    For Mujj Chatin 2, I didn’t have a pic! Maybe later.

  16. Hahahaha….. I am laughing on the comments right now!!!!! Who was talking to whom????

    Lovely post there anita. 🙂

  17. Pingback: A Mad Tea Party
  18. I relished the mujji chatin along with al yakhni, carrot-peas- potatoes-dill subjee with rice. I ate too much of this and so the Kheer has to wait. Just tasted a tiny spoonful and it was divine. I’m going to skip dinner and just eat Kheer 🙂
    My initial choice was mutsch but I recently ate meat and can’t handle it so soon again. The mutsch is definitely on my to do list.
    The al yakhni was a totally different experience. I’ve never used sonth and saunf powders before and was a little surprised by the fragrance of the sauce? curry? I also think I burned the tadka slightly but it was OK, I still liked it
    I liked everything and enjoyed my Sunday lunch!
    I took pictures this time.

    I took pictures this time

    That is one awesome spread. I think the mujj chatin must have paired well with al yakhni! Everything looks perfect in the picture! Well done, Shilpa…let’s tell Manisha!

  19. Actually we too have a bit of rice first as varan bhat then poli. I agree about your comments on the systems.

    Anita wanted to give you feedback on Baakar bhaaji that I made this weekend. Dad gave full marks to your recipe! After many days I loved pumpkin this way. I used kokum juice instead of dry kokum as I didn’t have any. There is a post to follow. Thanks dear.

    It is one of my fav ways to have pumpkin! Glad to know your father agrees too!

  20. I thought if I put up a bigger picture,it might cause some kind of problems for Anita. Pliss to enlighten OLO, is what I did called bandwidth theft or some such thing? should one not be doing such things on other’s blogs?

  21. Shilpa! You’re back! You were worried about Anita?! No!

    You’re hosting it on a free image hosting site (I’m assuming – so pls confirm that you are), which allows you to pull the image from their server for use on other sites using the img tag. This means that you can actually display the image on other web sites. If you did this without permission of the site on which the image is hosted, then you would be stealing bandwidth from *that* site.

    What you did was link to it – there’s never any problem with that. It won’t cause problems for Anita as the picture is not shown on her site and people will click through to see it.

    Also, Anita is on free WordPress so badnwidth is not an issue per se for her!

  22. Thanks Manisha for the explanation. I used Photobucket to post my picture. All these things are new to me and I’m learning things everyday.
    Anita, your blog is like a comfortable home. I grab my cup of tea and visit often reading the comments section and of course your posts.

    Yes, of course, you read the posts too
    ❗ 😀

  23. I think the mujj chatin is going to be a regular feature of my dal-chawal nights. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Anita!

  24. I need to ask 2 questions: do you add shah zeera raw or roasted, whole or ground? The other one is: do you use kala namak for this or no?

    Add shah jeera raw to the hot oil. And, nooooo kala namak whatsoever!

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