ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Beet and Mushroom Curry” from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian*
TIMING: 50 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Well, you just have to be willing to sport fuchsia hands
TOOLS: Nothing special, just a lidded pan
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: Beets, besides being scary, are awesome for you. And these beets, believe it or not, don’t taste really earthy. Much of the beetiness is subdued to a prevalent sweetness. That aside, I would like to encourage you to eat more beets, and this recipe is at the top of the healthful beets recipes list.
EXPERIENCE: I am well aware that beets are not at the top of most people’s lists of food to eat. Ever. However, they came in the farmer’s box this week. And so I had beets on hand. (Note: I hated beets before I was pregnant the first time. Ever since then, I crave beets. I can hardly satiate my beet cravings.) I was making Indian food and wanted to use the beets before they started softening and becoming unappetizing.
It seemed unlikely to me, but beets actually made an appearance as Indian food in World Vegetarian. (I always think of beets as exclusively European.) That sounded super interesting. But I will be the first to admit that this recipe was anything but interesting, when it came to tasting. I think that currying the beets make them pair with Indian and other West Asian foods, but you don’t get a whole lot of flavor from them besides sweet. Which, I guess, makes them a great offering for those who don’t normally like beets.
NOTES: The original recipe calls for Mushrooms. First of all, that sounds texturally odd to me with the beets, but I would be willing to give it a try. But we didn’t have any at the time. Second, mushrooms frighten some people as much as beets, and we don’t want to send anyone over the edge. If you want to try the mushrooms though, add 6 ounces halved button or baby portabello mushrooms right before the beets.
Adjust the heat of the final dish by increasing or decreasing the chile and changing the type of chile. Also, all chiles are variant, so go ahead and taste a little bit of the chile you are using before adding it.
- In a medium skillet or wok, heat 3 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed and 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed. Swirl until mustard seeds begin to pop.
- Add 14 ounces peeled and diced beets and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 pressed garlic cloves, and 1 minced chile (like jalapeno). Stir for another 2 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes, until beets are tender. Sauce should be mostly absorbed.
Serve with an Indian meal, basically. It tasted really great with buttered and salted Basmati rice.
*Recipe changed from the original.