Radish in a curry? Whilst that may sound a bit wacky, don’t judge me too quickly – they’re great!
One of the challenges people have with a plant-based diet is texture, especially if you like to get your teeth into something firm. Cooked veg, beans, pulses do tend to be soft, even mushy at times (hopefully when they’re supposed to be rather than a cooking disaster!). Radish is one vegetable that retains it’s shape and texture when simmered, although even this lovely bulbous root will soften somewhat if left to bubble for too long.
Radishes are packed full of amazing nutrients and fibre, have a bit of fire of the their own and retain their shape and texture when cooked. Being part of the mighty cruciferous family they’re also packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties as well as the pungent cruciferous aroma.
Colourful salad radishes are in season in the UK from mid Spring right through to Autumn and readily available in supermarkets and farmers markets. The flesh is white and crisp, the skin usually pinky red, but you can get a range of hues ranging from deep red through to dark purple/black. These pigments contain powerful phytonutrients of their own, as with all colourful produce, so if you can find a mix of colours, go for it!
As well as a crunchy texture, radish can have a pretty strong flavour; some will make your nose or eyes run. The larger, longer daikon radish that’s used mainly in Japanese cooking is even more powerful. If you can’t find smaller radishes then daikon is a good substitute; just chop into larger chunks. And beware it might bite you back!
Radishes are a great vegetable to grow at home. If you do, then keep the leaves and add them to the pot right at the end. Radish leaves contain a high vitamin C content as well as calcium. If you find a fresh bunch with leaves at the market or farm shop, go for these as you’ll get more nutrients for your money than those already trimmed and in a packet.
This simple curry is great to make in late summer or early autumn when radishes are abundant. Broccoli and courgette are also in season and readily available at a good price – seasonal veg always is. You might even find extra taste purple sprouting broccoli back on sale – more fabulous phytonutrients to add to the pot.
When I cook broccoli, I use all of it – stem, leaves and florets – as they all contain a lovely array of nutrients and fibre. And there’s less waste. The broccoli stem might be a bit woody on the outside, so just trim that off and use the softer centre. If your broccoli has leaves, definitely include these as again they’re a great source of vitamin C, E and K as well as calcium. Bonus!
Eating produce in season when it’s abundantly available generally means it costs less then other times of the year. So make the most of these veggies now, then adapt the recipe at other times when more root vegetables like carrots and sweet potato are in season, as well as winter or spring greens (these are amazing in this recipe).
Feel free to add more or less spices depending on how hot you or your family like it. Curry powders can vary in heat, so beware of how much you add if you don’t like it too spicy. If you want to ensure this dish is gluten free, then use individual spices rather than a spice mix just to make sure there’s no unwanted extras. If you accidently add a bit too much spice to the masala, then a serving of dairy-free yoghurt or my tasty raita will cool it down nicely.
To make the most of the fabulous anti-inflammatory properties of the curcumin in turmeric, make sure you season well with black pepper so it can be absorbed. Curcumin also needs fat for maximum absorption, so add a drizzle of cold-pressed flaxseed oil or a handful of chopped cashews or almonds if you wish.
This curry will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an air-tight container. It also freezes well, so make a larger batch and divide into separate pots for the freezer to use on those busy weekday evenings – just remember to label the pot!
If you want to make sure you’re getting enough protein during the day, then serve this tasty masala alongside my gorgeous rainbow dal or plain dal. Made with red split lentils, it complements the masala perfectly.
I love this masala and I hope you will too. Do let me know what you think.
Radish and broccoli masala
- small blender pot
- small non-stick frying pan
- medium-sized saucepan with lid
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 medium red or white onion roughly chopped
- 3 cm knob fresh ginger peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 400 gram tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 medium potatoes scrubbed and diced
- 150 grams radishes topped and tailed
- 1 medium head of broccoli, stem, leaves and florets separated chopped into small pieces
- 150 grams courgette chopped into small chunks
- black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander to garnish
- 2 tbsp chopped cashews or almonds optional OR
- glug cold-pressed flaxseed oil optional
- Place a small non-stick pan over a medium heat and add the cumin and black mustard seeds. Toast for a couple of minutes until you can smell their aromas or the seeds start to pop. Turn off the heat.
- Place the onion, ginger, garlic and 50ml of water into a small blender pot and blend to a paste.
- Place two tablespoons of water in the base of a medium-sized pan over a medium heat. Add the onion/ginger/garlic paste. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes until the paste thickens - don't let it burn to the base of the pan.
- Add the spices, toasted seeds and tinned tomatoes. Stir well, pop on the lid and simmer for 5 minutes.
- If you haven't prepped the veg, do so now. Leave the radishes whole unless they're really big - chop in half if they are.
- Add the radishes and chopped broccoli stem to the pan, coat well with the masala mix and add enough water to just cover the veggies. Pop on the lid and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes or until the curry powder aroma changes (it can be a bit harsh to start but softens when cooked).
- Add the remaining chopped broccoli and courgette to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes until they start to soften but retain their colour. Don't add more water to the pan as there's plenty of fluid in the veg that will be released as they cook. You don't want the masala too watery.
- Once the veggies are cooked, season well with black pepper and serve garnished with fresh chopped coriander.