Daikon Radish Foogadh | A Mullangi Poriyal with White Mooli

Some mothers 'ave 'em. You know, fussy children. Picky eaters and all that.

Well some children 'ave 'em too. 

If ever there was a mother who dodged eating her vegetables, it's my mother. She has a few vegetables she tolerates like cabbage, brinjals and beans, but try introducing some non-neutral vegetables like bitter gourd and odiferous white, daikon radishes and you'll see her scooting from the table faster than you could say Jack.

Now what can I say? She likes her non-vegetarian curries, cutlets and roasts and considers vegetables just a 'nice to have' and not a necessity. So how do I get my mother to eat her vegetables? Especially, white radishes that are just so good for her. I've tried convincing her that they are full of antioxidants like calcium and potassium that will lower high blood pressure and reduce heart disease. Great for detoxifying the blood, preventing yeast infections and providing roughage and fiber to keep our digestive system moving, this humble vegetable sounds almost too good to be true. Now, the challenge for me is to make it taste too good to be true.

"Mother, do try these daikon radishes. Did you know these large white radishes are also called mooli? What a cutesy name. I mean, how many vegetables do you know that have their own two-syllable pet name? This must be a very endearing vegetable indeed," I cajole.

"Endearing, perhaps to you. Not me," Mother shoots back without missing a beat.

Time to switch gears.

"Mother, please eat your radishes. They're so beneficial for you. They eat these daikon radishes in Japan and that's why the Japanese live to be a hundred."

"Thanks, but I don't want to live that long."

"Fine. But you know, mooli will help turn back the clock, make you look younger, smooth away your wrinkles," I try.

"Wrinkles? I don't see wrinkles. Are you calling me old?" she counters, pulling out her trump card.

Never mind. I've lost this fight.

The only thing I can do now is resort to is some devious deception that comes quite naturally to some daughters.

Smoke and mirrors, masquerade, disguise. I will dress my radishes up like cabbages and my mother will be none the wiser.

First, I grate my daikon radish or mooli so that it looks like shreds of cabbage.

Grated white daikon radish or mooli with green chilies and a grater, knife and onions in the background.
Grated daikon radish/ mooli

Then I cook it just like I would a cabbage foogath/ poriyal. The radishes take on the distinctive flavor emitted by spluttering mustard seeds and curry leaves in hot oil. Then I  bulk it up with some onion and carrot and finally enrich it with a good heaping of shredded coconut.  My Cinderella Daikon has now been transformed into a Cabbage Princess

Yellow muli, daikon radish foogath vegetable in a blue bowl with a spoon
Radish foogath or Mullangi poriyal

No more strong and spicy radish odor. Just the lovely smell of coconut and tadka. The final touch is adding a little bit of turmeric powder to turn thing the entire radish foogath/ mullangi poriyal yellow and now the magic is done.

I place the mullangi poriyal at the table, along with the rest of the meal and wait to see how Mother receives it.

It's a success. She relishes her meal.

"How's the vegetable?" I ask as I clear the table.

"The cabbage was good," says Mother.

Yes! I finally won this fight.

A blue bowl of mullangi poriyal with 2 green chilies

Recipe for Daikon Radish Foogath | Mullangi Poriyal


☐ 2 large white radishes, grated
☐ 1 carrot, diced
☐ 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
☐ 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
☐ 2 sprigs of Curry leaves
☐ 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
☐ 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder/ haldi
☐ 2 green chilies, slit
☐ Salt
☐ Oil

Step by Step Instructions

1. Grate radishes, dice carrots and onions

2. Heat oil in a wok. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. Add the curry leaves. 

3. Add the chopped onions and slit green chilies. Saute until the onions have softened.

4. Add the carrots and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the grated radishes, turmeric and salt. Continue to stir fry on medium heat until the radishes are cooked to your desired preference. If you prefer it crunchy with a little bite and texture, then sauté uncovered for 5 minutes.

If you prefer the vegetable soft, then add a little water, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.

6. Add grated coconut. Mix well and serve.

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