Monday, September 21, 2009

Beet It!

Yesterday I was over the moon that I'd found a new South Asian Market here in Sonoma county. As I think I'd mentioned before we have only ONE Indian market in the entire county and they're not always the best stocked. It's the thing I do miss about Los Angeles. Ready access to good ethnic grocers.
I needed to go over to Santa Rosa yesterday which is a 50 mile round trip for me and so while there I of course had to go shopping at the Asian Market on Petaluma Hill Road.
I know that compared to what I'm used to in LA this was nothing special..but Sonoma???? Yikes! I thought my head was going to explode.
Rows and rows of delectable goodies. Fresh coconut, taro, banana flower, a dozen varieties of rice, canned green jackfruit, basil seed! Things I'd been merely dreaming of finding here in Sonoma, or had resigned myself to dragging back from my next business trip to LA were within my eager little grasp. I went nuts and snapped up all sorts of interesting things, so why then is this blog post about beets? Because I have beets.
I have beets. I mean that in a good way, but also in a "what was I thinking?" way. I usually think of beets in two ways. Roasted in the fall, and as a salad with beet greens and feta cheese in the spring. Beets are also something that I don't usually associate with Indian food. That being said I did run across a great recipe for a Sri Lankan beet dish in Mangoes and Curry Leaves.
There were great baby beets at the farmers market the other day and for me baby vegetables are like puppies. I can't resist them..they're just so cute!
So, being a good ex-Catholic schoolgirl, I decided to put my banana flower and jackfruit away for another day and eat my beets first. Here's what I did:
I had 1 lb of small beets.
1.) Peel them. NOTE: conventional wisdom says to wear gloves while doing this so as not to look like you've just killed someone when you're done. The thinking here is that if your fingers get stained the red color will last for a day or so. However, not one to wear gloves for this task I can tell you that you can scrub your hands with warm water and baking soda and it should take the red stain right out. At least, it did so for me. Gloves? Ha! I scoff at gloves!
2.) chop them into thin julienne strips.
3.) Finely chop 2 Tbs of green serrano chilis
4.) Finely chop 3 Tbs of shallots
5.) 4 curry leaves
6.) In a deep skillet or karahi heat about 2 Tbs of oil
7.) when the oil is hot add in the chopped chilis and shallots, stir them around for about 3 minutes or so.

8.) Add in your beets and
9.) 1 Tbs of rice vinegar
10.) 1 tsp of salt
11.) 3/4 tsp of sugar.

Mix it well it will start to boil then add
12.) 1/4 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of water.

Bring it all to a boil, put a tight lid on your pan and lower the heat to a strong simmer. Leave it like that for about 15 to 20 minutes. Check it after about 10 minutes to stir it up and see how it's doing, you may need to add a bit of water at this time to keep it from sticking.
13.) When your beets are soft throw in 4 more curry leaves and
14.) another 1/4 cup of coconut milk.
Mix it up to heat through for another 2 or 3 minutes, and you're done!
Stir the mixture up mix it well, serve.
This beet dish was amazing and the technique works the same for other root vegetables, most notably carrots. This may just make your picky beet eaters change their minds about beets on the plate.
I may tackle the Banana flower tomorrow, I've stumbled across a great recipe that combines it with prawns. Having just seen District 9 however, I may have to amend that dish.


  1. Like this recipe a lot! besides with such a vibrant color, it can only be delicious. I never mixed coconut and red beets, something to try out.

  2. It does not take citronetvanille, but only Silvia..not sure I understand why

  3. Thanks all of you, it was a really great dish, I'd done carrots in a similar style but never beets! Definitely gonna do this one again.

  4. yes, my husband was amused by it too!

  5. Ha! Nice post :) I'm also an ex-Catholic schoolgirl and I like to eat my beets. I haven't had fresh jackfruit in ages. I can't find them anywhere in Wisconsin.

  6. I was totally shocked to find them in Santa Rosa. That store is a little piece of heaven.

  7. kathy i wud certainly like to try this as beet is one of my fav veg.



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