Makki ki roti with mooli is one of my partner’s favorite breakfast dishes. I admit, at first it didn’t sound very appetizing to me – cornbread cooked on the stovetop with radishes and spices. But it’s an unexpectedly delicious combination – a hearty, filling, hot breakfast perfect for a cold winter morning.
Please note that the radish used here is Daikon radish – not the small, red salad radishes most people are used to. Daikon radishes are fairly common in American groceries and can also be found at Indian grocers.
Ingredients for Makki Ki Roti with Mooli:
One Daikon Radish (mooli)
2-3 Cups Plain Corn Meal (make sure you are not using self-rising corn meal or cornbread mix)
1/2 Cup Hot Water (more if needed)
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (or more!)
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin (or more!)
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala (or more!)
2-3 Green Chili Peppers (or more!), finely chopped
1 Large Handful Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Vegetable Oil & Aluminum Foil
Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter or margarine
Unsweetened Soy Yogurt (optional)
Directions for Makki Ki Roti with Mooli:
Peel, wash, and grate the daikon radish. (Tip: Don’t chop off the top of the radish with the leaves; this makes a nice handle to hold onto when you’re grating.)
Put the grated radish in a large mixing bowl. Add the plain corn meal. You want roughly the same amount of corn meal as radish, with just a bit more corn meal than radish – maybe 1/3 more. Don’t worry about measuring, just eyeball it.
Mix the radish and cornmeal together with your fingers.
Add the spices. These days, I just fling the spices in without measuring! But start with a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of ground cumin, and a teaspoon of garam masala. Mix with your fingers again.
Add the chopped green chili peppers and chopped cilantro.
Add hot water – as hot as you can stand without burning yourself! Hot water helps keep the dough soft. Only use as much hot water as you need to form a moist dough – too much water will make your dough sticky and runny.
Form the dough into balls.
Take the piece of foil and lightly rub with vegetable oil. Place a ball of dough on the foil. Keeping your fingers straight, press the palm of your hand on top of the dough and make a “flicking” motion with your wrist so the foil spins and dough flattens into a circular shape. (If the foil doesn’t spin, check to make sure your countertop is completely dry.) This takes a little practice so if your dough forms an odd shape, just shape it back into a round, even pancake shape with your hands.
Slide your hand under the foil to pick up both the foil and the flattened dough. Take it to a tawa or griddle preheated over medium high heat and just slam the dough on the griddle, foil and all. Wait a few seconds, then slowly peel the foil off. (Peel the foil off too fast, some of the dough might peel off with it.)
Let the dough cook for a minute or two, then flip it with the spatula. (You will know when the bread is getting ready to flip when you can slide a spatula underneath the dough without the dough sticking to the pan.)
Cook for another minute or two, smear a little Earth Balance on top, and flip again. The bread should be just about done. You should notice light brown spots on the bread. Check to make sure the center is cooked.
When it’s done, slide off the griddle and add a dollop of Earth Balance on top.
These are best served hot – eaten as soon as they come off the griddle!
We prefer eating with plenty of homemade, unsweetened soy yogurt.
These breads are best hot, so make only what you will eat at one meal. The dough will store well in the refrigerator for several days, and it’s easy to take out a ball of dough, flatten, and heat for a quick breakfast.
Although we eat this for breakfast, it’s also very popular served with sarson da saag – a Punjubi dish made of mustard greens. Those of us in Charlotte, NC or elsewhere in the American south would enjoy it with our collard greens.
Ajwain (carom) seeds, if you can find them, also make a nice addition. Ajwain is also very good for the digestion for those who may find this bread too heavy or spicy!
If you have a radish with fresh green leaves on top, go ahead and chop them up and add to the bread!
Can you roll the dough instead? I haven’t tried, but it might be a little difficult because of the texture of the dough. I’ve seen some techniques that call for rolling the dough between layers of plastic, but I can’t recommend this because of concerns about plastic safety. I’d advise trying your hands and the foil method first.
Use a fine grain of cornmeal. Whatever you normally use to bake American-style cornbread in the oven will be fine. Just avoid coarse cornmeal from bulk bins meant for grits or polenta.
Gluten-free people, be especially careful you are using plain corn meal and not a cornmeal baking mix!