Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Radish Radish

I am amazed by the quality of produce available here.  I mean, I am in the middle of the desert and can find beautiful, fresh and tasty produce for less than half of what I used to pay and in much greater quantity.  As in most mega marts in The States, the produce in grocery stores here are usually not as good as the produce found at smaller fruit and vegetable stands or street markets. 

The curse/blessing is that when buying vegetables you get a lot of vegetables for a two-person household.  And because of extreme heat, they do not stay fresh for very long.

I had a beautiful bunch of radishes – so spicy and crisp.  What to do?  And the leaves were in tact as well, which were looking leafy and ready to be eaten.  After a brief internet search, I found that radish greens could be braised similarly to any other greens. 

First, I made a simple salad with the root part of the radish.  I like to use my secret weapon with radishes, which I refer to as my “Secret Indo Salt”.  It is a combination of sea salt ground in a mortar and pestle with toasted cumin and coriander seeds.  I tossed the sliced radishes with the salt, then added a dash of sesame oil and some acid (either lemon juice or a vinegar).  Throw in a bit of fresh coriander (also known as cilantro), and you have yourself a fresh salad.

After washing the greens, I roughly chopped them and put them in a pan that already had some garlic toasting in sesame oil.  Some dried red chilies, and maybe I even threw in an onion or some scallions.  After tasting, I knew it needed a bit more something, so I added some store bought black bean sauce.  Perfection!

It was a last minute decision to try putting the greens in some fresh bread made by our local Egyptian baker.  I don’t remember the name of this bread, but the closest thing it looks like to the western eye is a hot dog bun.  But please, it is nothing like a hot dog bun in taste – only in shape.  The taste is delicious and fresh.  After my first bite, I reminisced about having bánh mì in Hawaii.  At first glance, the combination seems odd, but when together it makes so much sense.

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