Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kumar's Beetroot Curry


Sometimes you have a special recipe bookmarked for weeks and you have to specifically plan your menu and shopping list to finally be able to make the recipe of your affections. Other times, well, you're faced with a glut of *insert vegetable of your choice here* and your mission is to find a recipe which will assist you in whittling down your stash of said vegetable.

Point in case - this beetroot curry. I received beetroot two weeks in a row in my veggiebox and, though I'm a big beetroot lover, I'd gradually run out of ideas on how to use them all. I've roasted them, fried them up for veggieburgers, turned all Middle-Eastern on their asses, used thin slices as pizza topping and even made Red Velvet-esque cupcakes with 'em. But my options had run out. Aside from the regular old standby of vinegar-y beetroot salad, what else was left?


Luckily I stumbled across my copy of Feasts for a Fiver, with the focus not only on eating seasonally, but eating on a budget and healthily to boot. With my love of spices, it's probably no surprise that this Sri Lankan curry caught my eye. Being unfamiliar with the cuisine, it was interesting to note that it shares quite a few similarities with South Indian curries. However, Sri Lankan food is distinguished by quite extensive use of coconut milk, giving it a very unique flavour. The cuisine has a reputation for being extremely spicy and if you're not careful you'll be breathing fire like a dragon after a mouthful of one of their curries. Luckily for you, I toned the heat down in this one, so no fire extinguisher necessary. 

This curry is simple to make and sounds deceptively simple in terms of flavours, however the spices used work together perfectly to accentuate the sweetness of both the beetroot and the sweet potato. The coconut milk brings everything together and provides just the right touch of creaminess, while the optional coconut and nuts sprinkled on top adds some crunch. All in all, a very satisfying use of my beetroot stash and a great first meeting with the flavours of Sri Lanka.


Kumar's Beetroot Curry
Adapted from Sophie Grigson's Feast for a Fiver
Serves 4 - 6

Serve this with steamed rice, cooked wheatkernels or some flatbreads. Would also make a great side-dish for an Asian inspired meal. The original recipe calls for curry leaves and pandanus leaves, but, to be honest, it tasted pretty spectacular even without it, so I've given you the recipe as I've made it. I also took the liberty of adding sweet potato to give it a bit more body.

2 tbps sunflower oil
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
3 green chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
3 - 4 dried kaffir lime leaves
500g beetroot, peeled and cut into strips
2 sweet potatoes, peeled cut into strips
1 cup coconut milk
salt, to taste
slivers of dried coconut (optional)
peanuts (optional)

1. Heat sunflower oil in a large saucepan or wok, then add onions and fry over high heat for about three minutes. 
2. Add cumin, mustard seeds, chillies and lime leaves to the onions and fry for a few seconds until you hear the mustard seeds pop. 
3. Lower heat to medium, then add beetroot and sweet potatoes. Stir to combine and allow to cook for five minutes before adding the coconut milk. 
4. Cover, lower heat and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Add salt to taste and serve warm, sprinkled with coconut and peanuts.


Leave out the sweet potato for a lighter curry, or alternatively replace the beetroot with carrots for an equally lovely dish.

22 comments:

Joanne on November 24, 2010 2:51 a.m. said...

I can't imagine having to deal with that many beets since I am WAY not a fan. But this curry. I can totally get behind.

Nina said...

This is certainly an outside-the-box recipe for me, but I am very tempted to try this. I mean, what is not to like...I ove beetroot and I love curry......I love the little green spoon!!!

TS (eatingclub) on November 24, 2010 5:56 a.m. said...

"...turned all Middle-Eastern on their asses" -- LOL, love that line. But hey, you got these troublesome beets good! ;D

Marisa on November 24, 2010 8:32 a.m. said...

I have a few of those spoons, in all different colours, friend who knows I like cooking gave them to me. :-) Pretty right?

Juanita on November 24, 2010 10:01 a.m. said...

Beetroot and sweet potato make brilliant flavour mates, don't they. They're also so good oiled, roasted, salted and eaten dipped in cumin-y hummus!

Marisa on November 24, 2010 10:30 a.m. said...

Dipped in cumin-y hummus sounds fabulous! Definitely going to try that with my next glut of beetroot - thanks for the suggestion. :-)

Kamini Pather on November 24, 2010 11:47 a.m. said...

you're right, Beetroot is a difficult thing to cook with, but this looks great. Awesome image composition!

NicolaGeorge on November 24, 2010 11:55 a.m. said...

Yum, this curry sounds delicious.

I'm very curious about what those lentil looking things are in the bottom of your glass

Marisa on November 24, 2010 12:29 p.m. said...

Wow keen eye! Had to go look again. I think those must be the lemon pips in my ice tea...

Marisa on November 24, 2010 12:30 p.m. said...

Thanks Kamini! Sometimes hard to stay inspired, photography wise, so appreciate the compliment!

Daniel Hall on November 24, 2010 4:33 p.m. said...

I enjoy Beetroot so naturally this does seem exciting, guess I am off to the shops with this shopping list, Beetroot Curry tonight!

Mika on November 24, 2010 4:54 p.m. said...

Your recipes are always so wonderful and special and unusual...I simply love them...Here in Germany I finally found raw beetroots and I love them, so I will make this one very soon...

Nachiketa Chandra on November 25, 2010 9:15 a.m. said...

delightful flavours n lovely pictures....

Cheers,
The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

Marisa on November 25, 2010 9:47 a.m. said...

Your comment wins the award for my favourite comment of the week. :-)

PS: Love your blog's name - would suit me as well!

Mika on November 25, 2010 1:41 p.m. said...

I'm eating this right now...I substituted potatoes with tofu and I skipped the kaffir lime (I didn't bring it with me here in germany) and it's wonderful!! I love it...it's the first time I use coconut milk to cook savory dishes and I'm so happy with the result...thanks thanks for this recipe...

Jun on November 25, 2010 3:43 p.m. said...

I love beetroots!!! And spicy foods! Hope I can find the ingredients...

Marisa on November 25, 2010 4:52 p.m. said...

That sounds like a great substitution - tofu & coconut milk are wonderful partners. So glad you enjoyed this!

Vegolicious on November 26, 2010 12:49 a.m. said...

I've never seen a beetroot curry before, but I love beetroots.

I’d love for you to submit some of your beautiful photos, and a link to your posts, to my vegetarian food photo gallery showcasing the best vegetarian/vegan dishes on the web.

Marisa on November 26, 2010 4:11 a.m. said...

Thanks for alerting me to your site. I make quite a few vegetarian/vegan dishes and am happy to submit to online galleries.

Pavielango2002 said...

Wow Pictures are amazing with healthy and delicious curry.

Gypsy696 on November 28, 2010 3:05 p.m. said...

Amazing!!! Cant wait to try it at home.

Eliana on December 02, 2010 5:31 a.m. said...

What a great combination of flavors and textures you have going here. This looks delicious.

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