Daikon, known in Ayurveda as mulaka, is in season now. Radishes are sharp, hot, pungent and bitter but sweeten when cooked. They increase digestive fire and treat heart disorders and vitiated vata. Daikon treats cough, breathlessness, piles, and eye disorders and strengthens the liver and spleen. When sautéed in oil or ghee, daikon pacifies all three doshas. Daikon radish is also known as Nepali mulaka because it is grown in Nepal. This recipe is based on the village cuisine of Western Nepal. We often had similar dishes in Maharashtra, prepared from the smaller icicle radish.
Daikon supports digestion of beta carotene, hence this recipe is a good one, since it maximizes digestion of the beta carotene from the greens.
This is a great recipe for early Spring. If you can get the daikons with their greens, this is ideal. If not use Osaka purple mustard greens or the regular mustard greens as a substitute. This recipe cleanses the liver and palate. Pitta should use extra cilantro.
4 medium daikons or one bunch of bunched daikons
Greens from the daikons or one bunch mustard greens (preferably Osaka purple)
1Tb ghee or mustard oil
1 Tb cumin seeds
1 tsp brown or black mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp mild chili powder
1" piece of ginger root, scraped and finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped (omit for pitta)
1 tsp organic turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp salt
2 Tbs chopped cilantro (double for pitta)
Slice the daikons and steam until fork tender. Wash and chop the greens.
Heat the oil or ghee in a wok on medium high.
Add the mustard seeds and cook until they turn grey and pop.
Turn the heat to warm and add the cumin seeds, then the fenugreek seeds.
Turn the heat off as son as the seeds are browned and then add the powdered spices.
Let them cook for a few minutes in the hot oil, then add the ginger and jalapeño and turn the heat to medium.
The moisture from the ginger will stop the spices burning.
As soon as the ginger is lightly browned, sprinkle the greens with water and toss into the spices.
Cover and let cook for five minutes or so, until the greens are tender.
Now stir in the cooked daikons, salt and cilantro.
Cook together for a few minutes, being careful not to overcook the greens.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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