I am not sure what I love more about the beetroot: its gorgeous color, its earthy flavor, or its highly nutritious properties. Or, maybe, its long shelf life: it keeps forever in the refrigerator (okay, maybe not forever, but for a few weeks) which is important in my kitchen that’s far from organized
This week, I’ve been rather busy at work so I haven’t been able to go buy any veggies, and have been relying on the frozen ones I always keep on hand for exactly just such occasions. I also had, sitting there, three very lovely beets whose greens I had already used up.
The dish took minutes to make and was simply gorgeous to look at, with the jewel-like color that beets impart to anything they touch. It also tasted amazingly good, and was perhaps one of the healthiest dishes I’ve ever cooked. And I cook healthy most of the time.
To go with the pilaf, I made some very simple, very quick, very delicious Ginger-Lime Dal.
The whole meal was ready in less than 45 minutes, and made for a truly wholesome dinner with nothing more than some microwaved papad. I think I could eat this every day.
1 cup brown rice + 1/4 cup barley, cooked(I put them together in the rice cooker and follow instructions for cooking 1 1/4 cups of brown rice)
2-3 medium-sized beets, skins scrubbed clean, then grated
1 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed (I just do this in a microwave which saves a LOT of time)
1 habanero pepper, finely chopped (replace with 2 or 3 of any other hot chili peppers if you don’t have habanero. You need a good amount of heat, though, because it has to stand up to the sweetness of the beets and the robust flavor of the brown rice and barley.)
2 heaping tbsp sambar powder
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp grated coconut, for garnish
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, curry leaves and chili peppers and stir until the onions turn translucent but not brown.
Add the chopped tomato and sambar powder. Stir until the tomato turns mushy and expresses the oil.
Add the spinach, mix to coat with the spices, and then add the grated beets.
Add salt to taste.
Cover and cook for a few minutes until the beets are tender.
Now mix in the cooked rice and barley. Mix well.
Add the coconut and either mxi it into the rice or just leave on top as a garnish.
You can also add some coriander, if you like.
Serve hot with the Ginger-Lime Dal (recipe follows).
3/4 cup moong dal, cooked until soft
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 green chilies, slit
1/2 tsp turmeric
Juice of 1/2 lime (can substitute with lemon)
1 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tbsp canola oil
Salt to taste
Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they sputter, add the green chilies.
Stir for a few seconds, then add the ginger and stir again for about a minute. Do so on medium heat so the ginger doesn’t burn.
Add the turmeric. Stir in.
Add the moong dal and salt to taste.
Let the dal cook for another 5 minutes on low heat. Turn off the heat and squeeze in the lime juice.
Serve hot with the beet-barley-brown-rice pilaf.