Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Mooli da Parantha (White Radish Parantha)


You can make Punjabi paranthas with just about any kind of stuffing, as long as they are vegetables, although I have heard that there are some keema pranthas too, but that is an exception. Each type of vegetable requires a different type of masala (spice mixture) and also preparation of the vegetables as well as the way in which the rolled out flour pancake is cooked on the tava. The taste of each parantha depends on all these things and finally how it is cooked.
So there are paranthas made of aloo (potato), phul gobi (cauliflower), gajjar (carrot), piyaaz (onions), methi (fenugreek), karela (bitter gourd), channa daal, paneer (Indian farmer’s cheese), sliced cheddar cheese, chini (sugar) and gur (jaggery), all of which require better preparation and careful cooking. In general, if a vegetable sheds too much water, or the daal is too watery, then it is very difficult to make them into a decent parantha.
Moolis (daikon or white radishes) are widely eaten all over India as a salad ingredient, peeled and cut into long slices, like cucumbers, and eaten with salt and red pepper. They have a distinct biting taste and strong smell and the salt is used to cut the sharpness and smell out. Just as with the small, round red radishes, moolis can give gas to some people and the salt again helps to reduce this. The green leaves are used to make a dish, much like sarson ka saag.
Mooli paranthas are a favorite type for Punjabis, especially since moolis are a comparatively cheaper vegetable, and the cooked paranthas have a wonderfully sharp, taste, yet are soft to eat with achaar or yogurt alone.

500gm kanak (gehon) ka atta (wheat flour)
1 medium mooli (daikon or white radishes) – makes four paranthas
1 1/2 cups pani (water)
Some tael (sunflower oil or vegetable oil) for coating the paranthas while cooking
1 tsp namak (salt)
Spices to taste: namak (salt), mirch (red pepper), dhania (coriander powder), garam masala, ajawain (carom seeds)

1. Carefully cut off the leaves and then wash the mooli. Peel the mooli, cut it into half then wash again and let it drip.

2. Shred each half of the mooli, then mix in the salt and let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. Take small amounts of the shredded mooli in the palm of the hand and squeeze out all the water. This will also remove most of the smell of the mooli.

4. Keep the squeezed out shredded mooli aside; there is no need to add any more salt. Mix in all the spices into the shredded mooli.

5. Pour the atta into a bowl, then slowly pour only enough of the water in while kneading the dough till it becomes a nice, round, tender firm ball. Dab the surface of the dough ball with a little water to keep it moist, cover the bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.

6. Pinch off a portion of the dough and make into a 2 inch round ball. Pour a little dry flour on the counter and roll the ball in it to coat it. Make the dough into small paade (balls). Now use a velna (rolling pin) to roll the ball into a nice round, flat 8 to 10 inch pancake, about 1/8 inch thick.

7. Now place a tablespoon of the shredded mooli mixture in the center and grab the edges to pinch off the dough into a ball. Carefully roll the ball into a flat pancake so that the mooli does not pierce the flour.

8. Put a small dab of oil on a hot tava (hotplate or skillet) and place the flattened dough on. When it turns color a little, turn the pancake over. Put another dab of oil on the tava and then turn it over again till it is fully cooked. When the paranthas have some dark brown spots on them, it means they are cooked.

9. Try these with a dollop of butter on the top of the warm parantha or with plain yogurt or achaar for best taste.

mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.



When making paranthas, you can use all the fine ingredients and the right method to roll the pancake out, but the final step is how it is cooked on the tava. This requires a certain technique if you want the cooked, tender but crispy parantha that is associated with Punjabi food. First, heat the tava on high for 3 to 4 minutes, then dab it with a little sunflower oil so that the bottom part of the parantha gets coated. Now, turn the parantha once the pancake shows some bubbles but dab the tava with oil before you flip the pancake over. Repeat a couple of times, but be careful not to use too much oil. If you do this correctly, you can even make the parantha puff up, just like a roti. Once the parantha is ready, take it off and crumple it down the middle to let the oil seep through.