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The dark side of radish

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Balajee, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    In north they call it Mooli, in Tamil Nadu Mullangi, in Karnataka Moolangi and the japs have a short and sweet name for it: Daikon.

    It comes in many avatars. It can be pink, round and pretty as a picture. . Just pop this little feller into your mouth with or without salt (after removing the leaves, of course). It makes a great snack.


    The little pink guy (or gal) is great in salads. But PLEASE don’t cook it. If there are people who do, they should be hauled up before the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Vegetables (if that exists. And if it doesn’t it is high time we created one to teach these philistines a lesson).

    There is also a variety that is also pink but is long and not that pretty. But the most famous (or notorious depending on your viewpoint) is the white radish .It is THE MOOLI/MULLANGI//MOOLANGI.


    That exactly is the famous Japanese Daikon. . And it is such a vegetable that you can hate it, love it but you cannot ignore it. Japs use it for salads, cook it, make a soup out of it and I suspect they also add it to Sushi for pungency when wassabi disappears from the market due to profiteers.


    It has got a slight off-white skin. When you scrape it, the radish reveals itself in all its snowwhite glory. But don’t be deceived. This Snowwhite packs such a punch and many say it is not snowwhite but the evil queen . in disguise of her innocent stepdaughter.


    People like me are great fans of it.I love it in sambhar and in salads. But I found that it caused extreme reactions. When I was working in a German media firm few years ago, I put on oodles of fat (Rich German lunches) and decided to go on a crash diet.. and Ma it a point to eat only salads for lunch at the office.. The hero(ine) of the salad was of course my Snowhite.


    After two or three salad days, my German colleague nervously approached me. “Balaji, would you do me a favour?” he asked.


    “Shoot”.


    “Please don’t eat your salad here. Go to the terrace and sit in the shade and have your lunch”. He was showing no disrespect to me but to my favourite vegetable.. Unwilling to start an Indo-German conflict, I made the radish my dinnertime companion. You see the mooli optimists only see the bright side of the vegetable, but there are mooli pessimists who only see the dark side., the smell.


    Another facet of the dark side is this white radish can turn people suffering from flatulence into potent biological weapons. as their bowels would release a real stinker of a gas. That could teach you what air pollution really means.


    My German friend was unnerved by the white radish in Delhi which is relatively a gentle soul though it does pack some punch. But it pales before its cousin you would find in Tamil Nadu vegetable shops. Punch? That one is an Olympic boxing gold medallist.. It is not long like its northern kin, is somewhat short with a thicker skin, and at times with a bulge in the middle. Not so statutory warning:: Don’t eat that one raw if you are fainthearted. If you have seen someone wolfing it down then that must b a stunt performed by professionals, Do not try that at home.

    But the same pugnacious soul pipes down and becomes very gentle in a sambhar particularly when you put an end to its bachelorhood by a happy wedding with caramelized onions or shallots in a sambhar.. Slrrrrp!!!!!!!!


    So whatever murmurs of disapproval are there my very dear favourite veggie, I don’t give a damn. We have a long way to go together. What if I am turned into a leaky gas cylinder? That would hopefully keep miles away from me a lot of unwelcome people , particularly some relatives who barge into my bedroom when I am peacefully reading and try to start a conversation with me.
     
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  2. Aria

    Aria New IL'ite

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    Balajee,


    I'd like to assume that this interlude from your political satires can be credited to my earnest appeal to expand your writing to quotidian aspects of life that lumpens like me can marinate, grill ( no cooking you see) and enjoy the crackling writer in you!


    And what have you chosen "Radish" !
    Not the superficial, facile side of the "Radish", but a sinister and darker side of the pink chub.


    I don't want to expound on all the piquant phrases, tempered punches, and aromatic expressions you stewed in your article to extract the essence of pungent radish. I just loved the lentil or literary broth enough to slur-r-p and crunch on your radish tale and not mind the dark side.


    P.S: Though I had a feeling that you might finish the post with radish as a metaphor for some political statesman for me to click my teeth again.
     
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  3. Srama

    Srama Finest Post Winner

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    I didn't know there was a dark side to this otherwise snow white glory when peeled ;) Just kidding Balajee! I am not a big fan of this vegetable but my family loves it. While I refuse to cook brinjal, yes I don't eat it either I don't mind cooking this radish but only after it has languished for a while! My favorite variety here is the little pink ones and sambar it is, almost always.

    But coming to your snippet who knew there can be so much story behind a radish - as close as an Indo-German conflict, thanks to your indulgence :biggrin2:
     
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  4. jskls

    jskls Finest Post Winner

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    Nicely written. Funny but true one on Radish. It's not a welcome vegetable not only at work but in any gatherings too

    Recently when I made the so called snow-white sambar decided that Radish will be off my veg list as the pungent smell that fills the house stays for a long time. I had to lit agarathi to compensate the effect.
     
  5. Aria

    Aria New IL'ite

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    I love the round plumpy one ...
    Wonder if you are talking about this long and unappealing variety
    (luckily I've bunch in my fridge to provide imagery to your post)


    RAdish.jpg
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    What a riveting description of a vegetable I consumed a lot as a child and a young man but don't even see it of late where I live. It is my mother who had the knack of mixing vegetables in our diet from time to time to have the right impact in the chemical factory located inside of us. At that age, I was suffering from nasal block most of the time and I never smelled the bad side of Mullangi.

    Once in every two months my mother, with an evil look, used to declare categorically, "no bournvita today" which means I had to drink one whole tumbler of caster oil mixed with black coffee. I don't want to get into the details of how many trips I had to make to the toilet. After nearly starving to death for the whole morning, she used to give rasam and rice that is prepared in the liquid form only in the afternoon. Later that night, I was allowed to take curd (yogurt) rice. Mostly, because of keeping the stomach empty for a long period of time with limited intake of food, next day, I normally became a spacecraft ready to take off. That is when my intelligent mother makes Mullangi sambar to bring me back to earth. What a carefully crafted strategy to make the spacecraft to take off and bring it back to earth! But for my decision to migrate to the US, I would have become a space scientist in India with that much knowledge and experience.

    An apple a day, keeps the doctor away whereas a radish a day will keep everyone away. It is not advisable to turn an ordinarily intelligent German into a tyrant Hitler because of your eating radish salad. I am glad that you didn't trigger a third world war with your venture of taking your salad in the presence of Germans.

    Viswa
     
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  7. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balaji,

    i drool when i see the vegetable man with the mooli, on his cart. here we get it for 5 bucks.i dont even wash it, i just eat it raw, as it is, and my wife does not like it.the gas part follows soon after.HAHA

    But there is a sad part to it, it is grown in the waste waters, of rajasthan prininting water, so i wonder why dont we have the colourful moolis, maybe very soon we may have.They are still white.

    You know what, for people like u, rich and mooli lover, if i was a mooli seller, i would hide a few moolis when i show them to u, u would say, howmuch are those , and i would say, leave it , sir, they are organic ones, pure angels, these are for 20 bucks , while the opther ones are for 5 bucks, andi know u would fall for the 20/- ones which would be the same actually as the 5 bucsk one, but i would play on yr love for moolis.
    HAHA

    Have u eaten mooli parathas, superb really.

    Regards

    kamal
     
  8. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Ah, Balajee, is this some strange coincidence? I have made that same delectable, eminently slurp worthy mullangi sambar with onions at home today! I tried to grow mullangi just to ensure being able to get its leaves as well, but failed miserably in my quest. Never mind, shall try again. Winter is not too far away!
     
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  9. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    Balajee I have not given feedbacks to your threads because I dont know much about Politics. But this thread about Radish made me come here. I also like Mullangi very much when sambhar is made out of it. But my husband does not like it , so I dont make it. I did not know you can write so much about Radish. Congratulations for the nomination by Aria
     
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  10. tashidelek2002

    tashidelek2002 IL Hall of Fame

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    Balajee:
    Even I am a fan of mooli paratha! But you know here in USA traditionally those radish was considered just an item in salad (those little red ones which are so easy to grow). Now our markets are carrying daikon thanks to the demand of our many Asian residents. My use of mooli is a bit different from the others on this thread: I use it in homemade kimchi....the Korean naturally fermented raw vegetables. Good kimchi, in my opinion, MUST have mooli. Napa/Chinese cabbage, carrot, spring onions all shredded and mixed with red pepper powder.....fermenting their way to good taste resting in the fridge.
     

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