Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Indian Beets

At last, a cooked beet recipe that I like! I found the recipe for 'Beetroot with Onions Shorvedar Chukander' in Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking. We had all the ingredients in the house for this and I decided to take a risk.

I made this beet dish and I had roasted a spaghetti squash we'd got in our CSA basket. I figured it was worth a shot to see what Elspeth thought, so I mixed up some of the beets with the spaghetti squash. A couple of mouthfuls went in. She then would not touch the beet-flavored spaghetti squash no matter how it was presented to her, but she kept shoveling in the beets and onions themselves! That is not what I would have predicted, particularly since she loves all other squash. It wasn't a fluke either; we offered her the beet dish tonight (with aloo gobi, the Savory Indian Lentils, and brown basmati rice) and she gobbled it up. I should note that we stripped her down to just her diaper for these beet meals--a necessary precaution as she was magenta all over afterwards.

When I can be detached about her choices, it's so interesting to see her preferences develop. In this golden era, she's so brave and excited about new foods.

I made the beet recipe essentially as written though I didn't have the exact quantities of beets and tomatoes so I threw in what I had and it was fine.

12 oz raw beets (weighed without stems or greens)
4 TBSP vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic (I added 2), peeled and finely chopped (I put through a press)
4 oz onions, coarsely chopped
1 tsp flour
1/8 to 1/2 tsp cayenne (I did 1/8)
8 oz tomatoes, finely chopped (she says to peel them, but I didn't bother)
1 tsp salt
10 fluid ounces water

  1. Peel the beets and cut into wedges. I had reasonably small beets and chose to do about 1/2 to 3/4 inch-long wedges that are about as thick as a finger.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium pan. (Note that you'll need a lid later). Add the cumin seeds and let them fry for 5 seconds.
  3. Add the garlic and stir until it is golden (if you're using pressed garlic, this could happen very quickly--you want to avoid burning the garlic)
  4. Add the onions and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes
  5. Add the flour and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute
  6. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the beets are tender. (It took longer than 30 minutes for me, even though my beets were small; I waited until a fork slid out somewhat easily though the beets were still firmer than, say, a boiled potato).
  7. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for 7-10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. It will continue to thicken as it cools, but will still be nice and saucy.

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