Beets are weird. I always think I hate them, until I have one in my mouth, then I’m surprised by how much I like it. Even raw, they’re actually quite delicious.
Around here, people do weird things to beets, especially with vinegar and cloves and cinnamon, not to mention tons of sugar. Those beets I can live without. This recipe is a more dignified approach to that.
1 teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon black cumin seed
|Beets have such terrifying after effects ...|
1 teaspoon fennel
1 flake mace
10 black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon (or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon coriander seed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon ghee
1 small onion finely diced
3 finely diced Thai chilies (or to taste)
1 inch ginger, julienned
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 beets, peeled and finely diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 teaspoon jaggery
salt to taste
1 cup water
1 cup plain yogurt
|Dice everything finely.|
Start by dry roasting the whole spices. Place them in the pan you will be using, and put them on medium high heat until they waft up a bit of smoke and get fragrant. Shake the pan around a bit, or use a brush to move the spices around. The process should take less than three minutes, depending on the heat of your pan. Leave the cinnamon in the pan and brush the rest of the spices into a spice grinder, and add the ground spices. Set aside.
Put the oil and ghee into the pan with the cinnamon stick, and turn on the heat to medium high. Add the onion, chilies and ginger. Brown the onion brown a little and reduce heat to medium. Once the onions are soft and golden in spots, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Grind the spices together, then add to the onion mixture. Cook and stir for the next two minutes. Add the diced beets, tomatoes, jaggery and water. (As my cherry tomatoes were previously oven roasted, and very caramelized, they were already sweet, so I didn’t use jaggery.) Cook till the water is mostly gone, and the beets are fork tender. This should take about thirty minutes. If you’re too lazy when dicing beets, and think you’ll save time by leaving them in larger cubes, you’ll pay by having to cook them longer. Beets are tough little guys!
|So ridiculously pretty!|
In the last five minutes of cooking, stir in the yogurt and let heat through. I served this with sag paneer and reduced gluten chapattis made with whole wheat and chickpea flour. If I’d been more on top of things, I would have added the beet leaves to the sag paneer, but alas, I kept the beets a few days too long, and the leaves sadly wilted. Perhaps you will be better organized.
Beetroot makes a nice side dish, takes about forty-five minutes to prepare, and it looks so pretty. My friend Jeanne puréd her beetroot masala, and added paneer. She called it pink paneer. Why not?
|A nice, light vegetarian supper...|