Piquant, pungent and invigorating is how I would describe this condiment.
Photo by T
Bengali cuisine is rich with recipes that are healthy, quick and extremely aromatic. Needless to say both mustard and mustard oil play a regal role in the department of flavors.
The every day meals do not use elaborate recipes. Instead they are quickly cooked and full of flavors. Fresh ingredients are often boiled, steamed or made to a paste to make a quick side. In a few words, minimally processed plant based food dominates the everyday meals (and some fish of course).
When I posted on of the photos of the radishes we harvested in Facebook, Moushumi, who blogs at Rainbows and Cloud Bursts (a beautiful journal of her life with her two adorable boys), mentioned that all she could think of was her mom’s “Mulo Bata“(pron. Moolo Baata). I was already running out of ideas as I had almost exhausted my tank and was wondering that I need to try something new with this fresh harvest. Moushumi send her mom’s recipe.
“Mulo – 2 of yours, Coconut grated (1/4th), Mustard seed – 1 teaspoon flat. Chilli raw Coriander leaves one bunch (a large fistful) Salt Make a paste without water. Mom uses silbatta Once you finish making a paste add 1 teaspoon mustard oil. And eat with gorom bhaat. It is very pungent and spicy so beware!”
A big thank you to Moushumi for the recipe. We are ever so grateful to your mom. Nothing can beat a zesty Mulo Bata with home grown radishes on gorom bhaat (hot steaming rice) on a slow, relaxed lunch during summer vacation. It was a beautiful reminder of back home and my childhood days. Hot summer afternoons with no rush of school and schedules to keep and a full spread of all the things I loved to eat.
Heartwarming comfort food.
T had sowed, transplanted and has been taking care of our radish patch very earnestly. So when the little red heads peeped out of the soil, there was a scream of delight…
and in the next few moments we had a bunch of radishes. And then more the next day and more the day after and it kept going. The serious mothering them did not end in the back yard for her. She cleaned and washed them. Took plenty of photographs of her trophies and also diced them.
It was indeed wonderful to see the child so involved in the process.
Photo by T
Even after an underlying similarity of flavors and process in the Bengali cuisine, it is so intriguing to see that every home harbors their own recipes. Unique and somewhat cloistered. In our home we have used a lot of the ingredients we have in this recipe in a equally simple dish, but never did I ever hear of using it with fresh radishes. This is the charm. Of a very deep and varied cuisine.
These most treasured and sheltered recipes are slowly disappearing…the fast pace of this world is catching up. As Moushumi said that these recipes need to be recorded, written down somewhere. So true…
Mulo Bata: Raw Spicy Radish Paste
Ingredients: (makes about 1.5 -2 cups)
- 8 small red radish (approximately 3/4 cup chopped)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh grated coconut
- 2.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 3 raw hot green chili pepper + more for garnish
- salt to taste
- 3 – 4 large fistful (about 2 cups) fresh cilantro/coriander
- a tablespoon of pure extra virgin mustard oil
Note: all cup measurements are for 8 oz cup
In your blender or food processor, make a paste with the first 6 ingredients. It would be for the best if no water is used, but I had to use a few teaspoons to have the machine moving.
Drizzle the mustard oil and mix. Serve with hot rice or as a chutney on the side with flat breads.
If you want a quick recipe for a side of rice, combine this with cooked rice and you will have a zesty side of rice right away!
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Serves: makes about 1.5 – 2 cups
Difficulty level: Very Easy
- Kachumber: Quick Indian Cucumber, Tomato Salad
- Kisir: Turkish Tabbouleh
- Cabbage with Peanuts
- Carrots and Beans with Caraway, Harissa and Pistachios
- Cauliflower with Nuts and Cranberries
- Roasted Artichokes Chickpeas & Garlic Salad with Lemon & Sesame
- Roasted Corn and Peanut Chaat/Indian Salad
- Shepherd’s Salad (Coban Salatasi)