Kirin Narayan

Madison, Wisconsin

Mooli—Radish relish from Kangra

This is one of my favorite quick side dishes with Indian food, and is also a wonderful digestive. It can be made with any kind of radish. In Kangra, long white daikon-like radishes are used, but in Madison I often buy "beauty-heart" radishes for a blazing pink effect.

Sarla Korla of Palampur, Kangra first taught me this recipe in 1994. Since then, I've enjoyed it in the homes of many friends in Kangra—sometimes without ginger, sometimes with more chili, sometimes with the digestive tang of "black" salt as opposed to salt. The recipe can be varied to suit your own tastes.

1 cup roughly grated radish
2-3 tablespoons of lime juice
2-3 tablespoons of chopped coriander
1/2 tsp. finely grated ginger
1 finely chopped green chili (if desired)
Salt or rock salt to taste

Mix all these ingredients and serve. Can be made in advance. Is always wonderful—tart, tangy, crunchy—with Indian meals.

Savory pancakes

This delicious recipe is adapted from the efforts of my friend Veena Dogra, who bravely cooked me breakfasts during a time that I was not eating wheat. She made these as kneaded flat breads made from different flours (missi rotis) in a hearth; I adapted them as pancakes.

Chickpea flour (besan at an Indian grocery)
Corn flour
Rice flour
a generous amount of freshly ground coriander powder
ajwain seeds (from an Indian grocery)
finely slivered onions
green chilis
chopped coriander (optional)

I don't give amounts or ratios here, as it's really up to you and your mood; just be sure there's a good ratio (at least 1/3) of chickpea flour to bind the pancake-like batter. Sometimes I put some balsamic vinegar in the batter too.
Spread out in a frying pan like a pancake; turn when bubbles appear. Cook on both sides.
This is delicious served with yogurt and mango pickle!