Aug 1, 2012
I find it interesting that one root vegetable can be known by so many names or not even known to people at all!!
I have known this intriguing white vegetable since I was a small girl. My Italian family in the UK own nurseries and grow and sell it- but we call it ‘Mooli’. I would eat it raw, in a salad or cooked, but I couldn’t work out why none of my friends knew about this vegetable.
Mooli is from the Hindi/ Urdu for Muuli. This eventually made sense to me as my family grew lots of herbs and vegetables to sell to the South Asian communities. I feel like I’m one of the only people that refer to it as Mooli as most people who like Asian cooking are comfortable with calling it Daikon (which apparently is widely used in the US) or white radish. But the names don’t stop there, some people even call it; white carrot, Japanese or Chinese radish and some even call it lo bok! Confused?
Whatever you choose to call it- if you haven’t ever tried it I’d really recommend it. Raw or cooked I enjoy Mooli either way. Sometimes eating it raw can sting the nostrils as it can have a bit of a horseradish/ wasabi feel to it. I like to add it to a salad- nice crunchy Kos lettuce with cucumber, thin slices of Mooli and a light vinegar and olive oil dressing.
Certainly Mooli is used more popularly cooked in Asian cuisine. You will often find it in Japanese ramen (noodle soup) or some lesser known Thai curries. When it is cooked it tends to lose that horseradish taste to it and becomes soft in taste and texture.
Living in Thailand it is so easy to pick up Mooli from the market, you can buy them beautifully fresh and crunchy. In the UK you can buy them from Chinese and Indian supermarkets that sell fresh veg.
If you are looking for that interesting ingredient that is more fun than cauliflower and cheaper than mange tout, Mooli-Daikon is a great addition to your ingredients list.
Here are some of my own recipes I would use it in; Thai green curry, Tom yam soup and papaya salad. I’d love to know what other foodies use it for or even just what you call it?! I’m always in search of great cooking tips from other people.