Beets with Tropical Flavours

Beets with Tropical Flavours

A short while ago, Tanna from My Kitchen in Half Cups posted a recipe for beet root salad, which brought beet roots onto my food radar (up to then I only knew store-bought beets from a glass, or as part of some stew-like dishes). When I found an easy recipe for beets with coconut milk and chilis in Mangoes & Curry Leaves, I put them on my shopping list.
(By the way, Mangoes & Curry Leaves is about as gorgeous a cook book as they come. The photography, the recipes and the writing (I'm not using adjectives here on purpose :) ) will let you come back to this book again and again. As it has the same dimensions as the Alinea cook book, I keep them on the same shelf in my book rack. But I always make sure to separate them by a half-inch sheet of lead, for fear of creating a foodporn black hole in my living room. ;) )

The recipe itself is pretty straightforward and would even qualify for a fast weeknight dish. At first glance the list of ingredients may seem a wee bit long but apart from the fresh beets it's pantry items all the way. The final dish is very tasty, the best thing being the sauce with a taste of coconut milk, chili, beet root flavour and a hint of vinegar. I had this as a main dish with some rustic bread, but one could also add maybe 2 cups of rice to turn it into a beets-coconut curry.

One final thought: If you want to blog about this dish (or any dish with beet roots for that matter), please do yourself a favour and use a non-white plate when taking pictures. ;)

Beets with Tropical Flavours

Source: Mangoes & Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid


3/4 to 1 pound beets (3 to 4 medium), washed
Generous 1 Tblsp raw sesame oil or vegetable oil *
About 8 fresh or frozen curry leaves **
Scant 2 Tblsp minced seeded green cayenne chiles,
or substitute jalapenos
2 to 3 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup canned or fresh coconut milk ***
1/4 cup water ***
About 1/2 tsp coarse salt (optional)


Peel the beets. (wear gloves to avoid staining your hands)

Cut into julienne strips about 1/4 inch wide and set aside. Place a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid on medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when it's hot, add 4 of the curry leaves, shallots and chilles. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beets, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir and turn to mix well. Raise the heat to high and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. The beets will give off a little liquid as they cook.

Mix half the coconutmilk with the water, then add to the pot and bring to a vigorous boil. Stir well, cover tightly, reduce the heat and cook at a strong simmer until the beets are just tender, about 20 minutes. Check the water level after 10 minutes and add some more as needed.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk and curry leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle on coarsesalt if you wish. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

* Used sunflower oil. (the olive oil of the eighties; Sorry, I've just been reading the first half of Molly Wizenbergs A Homemade Life and am in nostalgia mode.)

** Used some dried curry leaves, which I bought some months ago out of sheer curiosity. Not sure if they did add any flavour to the dish.

*** Used one 400ml can of 64% coconut milk.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You've earned your star for making me laugh today with your "make sure to separate them by a half-inch sheet of lead, for fear of creating a foodporn black hole in my living room" ... wonderful!

Very much like this beet salad! It's marked in my copy of this book as well.

Elle said...

Never thought of doing beets with tropical flavors but I can just imagine how wonderful they are...and pretty too.