Roasted Beet and Coconut Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Beets are one of my very favorite vegetables and it just so happens they are extremely good for you too. In addition to having detoxifying properties, beets are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are known to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure. Beets do not get as much attention as they deserve. The only drawback of course is they are rather messy and should be handled with care. You may wish to wear gloves while preparing them, though I find a sink load of dishes usually removes the stains from my hands.

My latest culinary experience with beets is adapted from this recipe for Coconut Beetroot Curry that I found at Red Chilies. I just so happen to have a few fresh coconuts on hand as I have been drinking coconut water lately to keep my body hydrated. Like beets, the clear liquid inside the coconut (not to be confused with coconut milk) also has many health benefits, including an abundance of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, has cleansing properties, can help increase metabolism and reduce fever among other benefits. An added bonus of drinking coconut water is you end up with lots of fresh coconut to add to your favorite dishes. You can also freeze the fresh coconut too for future use.

I added a bit of raw beet to the curry along with the cooked beet for a bit more texture. I used my beet greens in a previous recipe, but if you have them, I highly recommend you include a small bunch near the end of the cooking time. Serve with rice or any Indian flat bread for a most satisfying autumn meal.
Roasted Beet and Coconut Curry

Adapted from Red Chilies

3 small beets, roasted
beet leaves (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup of toor dal (or lentils or chana dal)
small handful of curry leaves
2 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

For the masala paste:

2/3 cup of shredded fresh coconut
3 green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
sea salt to taste

Begin by roasting the beets. Rinse the beets, cut off the stalks and rough ends, wrap in foil and place in a preheat 375 degree oven until the beets are fork tender (roughly 30 - 40 minutes). Remove from the oven, let cool, peel off the skin and chop into smallish cubes. Set aside.

Rinse the toor daal well. Place in a medium pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer until the daal is tender - roughly 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the paste, grind together the coconut, chilies, coriander seeds, cumin, cayenne and salt with enough water to make a watery paste. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop. Toss in the curry leaves, stir once and then add the onion to the pan. Stir and fry until the onion softens and turns translucent. Add the coconut masala paste to the pot, simmer for a few minutes and then add the beets and toor daal. Add enough water to get your desired consistency. Cover and simmer for a few more minutes to let the flavours blend.

Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish.

Other beet recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen to try:
Haloumi, Beetroot and Greens Dressed with Tahini and Lemon
Creamy Beet Borscht
Beet and Feta Salad
Orange and Beet Soup

Audio Accompaniment: Talk Amongst the Trees by Eluvium

On the top of the reading stack: The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski


MansTouch said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe, it seems very delightful. I'll definitely try this at home.
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Pari said...

I have always used beet in salads, this looks simple to make and with coconut flavor, sounds interesting.
Hey, do drop by whenever you find time.

Astra Libris said...

Such an inspired flavor combination! I wouldn't have thought to mix beets and coconut, but it sounds heavenly - I can just imagine how perfectly the natural sweetness of the beets would taste with the coconut... Mmmm...

I haven't read The Painted Bird yet - thank you for remding me that I need to add it to my list...

Priya said...

Delicious and eye catching combination...looks fantastic:)

Curry Leaf said...

Wow,I am always at a loss with beets and have also bookmarked RC's recipe.Looks great Lisa.

Ivy said...

I love roasted beets and lovely combination of ingredients.

Johanna said...

I love beets and have been meaning to try a beetroot curry - love the sound of this - I think I have seen fresh coconut in the supermarket so maybe will buy one for this recipe - although I would love some coconut milk in it

Sushma Mallya said...

Hi lisa,Curry looks very delicious,liked the recipe,will surely try this one...u got a lovely blog

Shri said...

Lisa, The curry looks delicious!We use regular beets and we make it similarly!Now I want to go make it..

Red Chillies said...

Thanks for the mention Lisa and so glad you liked the curry. i love beets too, for the flavor, color and sweetness.
I have never roasted beets before, I will give it a try sometime.

iRaw said...

I love beets and this looks delicious. What a great recipe!

eatme_delicious said...

This sounds absolutely perfect! Beets and coconut are two of my favourite things. I should figure out how to crack open a coconut so I can have fresh ones more often.

Melissa said...

I've been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here:

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