Stewed Radishes with Tamarind

Imli Waale Mooli

Pretty in pink, and no, it’s not the movie. It’s this sensuous-looking curry, chock-full of slightly bitter flavor made sweet by a hint of sugar and finished off with tart tamarind—just a touch. I have seen bunches of Easter egg-colored radishes at the supermarket; use them to make a rainbow-splashed curry (the flavors will be the same). Don’t discard the green radish tops: cooked with garlic, onions, and a splash of lime juice, they make a great stew.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 to 4 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, to taste, stems removed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
  • 10 to 12 medium-size red radishes, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon tamarind paste or concentrate


  1. Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the cloves, chiles, and cinnamon sticks, and cook until they sizzle and smell sweet-hot, 10 to 20 seconds. Immediately add the radishes.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and stir-fry the radishes for 1 to 2 minutes. Then cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the radishes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes (they will release their liquid and then stew in its juices).
  3. Stir in the sugar, salt, and tamarind paste. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to allow the added flavors to mingle, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cloves, chiles, and cinnamon sticks if you wish, and serve.