Dry curries / Pickles/Powders/Chutneys

Upbeat about Beet

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The iyer bruschetta brightened up my day yesterday (read the post IYER BRUSCHETTA) despite a very disappointing small onion sambhar (I don’t think anyone could go as wrong with small onion sambhar as I did yesterday). Today, I wanted to make something simple, where I do not particularly have to apply myself. And I settled for beetroot curry and some rasam made with the water in which beet has been cooked.

This beet-water rasam is quite different from the ground beetroot rasam I’d posted a couple of weeks ago (under Saturday Special Lunch: https://foodiliciousnan.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/saturday-lunch-special/). While the ground version is thick and spicy, this one is mild and light.

But midway through getting things ready for the rasam, I changed my mind. At my local vegetable vendor yesterday, I spotted tender light-green curry leaves and picked up a big bunch. I did not use it at all yesterday in my enthusiasm to work with coriander for the bruschetta. But while taking tomatoes out of the refrigerator this morning, I spotted the curry leaves starting to wilt! The sight of those tender lovely greens losing their colour was so heart-rending, I decided to chuck rasam and do something with the leaves instead.

Have you ever had hot rice mixed with curry leaf powder along with a dollop of ghee (there’s no downsizing the ‘dollop’ here!)? If you haven’t, you really MUST try it. Of course, you are allowed to drool over my pictures of the same, but it is no match compared to the pleasure of eating it fresh. The version I made is slightly different from the one my mother-in-law makes. I’ve listed both.

As far as the beetroot curry goes, it was good as usual (how’s that for bragging!?). I made two versions – one cooked with onions for hubby and another with coconut for myself.

Karuveppilai podi (Curry leaf powder)


Curry leaves – ½ cup tightly packed

Chana dal (kadala paruppu/bengal gram) – 2-3 tsp

Urad dal (ulutham paruppu/split black gram) – 2-3 tsp

Red chillies – 2

Black pepper – 6-8 peppercorns

Tamarind – ½ of a small lemon-sized ball

Hing (peringayam/asafoetida) – ¼ tsp

Oil – ½ tsp



Wash and pat dry curry leaves

Heat oil in a pan. Add the dals and black pepper and sauté on medium heat for half a minute

Add red chillies and tamarind. Sauté till dals turn deep golden and chillies bloat up and are bright red

Add hing and curry leaves. Sauté for 30 seconds till leaves turn crisp

Switch off flame and cool

Grind along with salt

Mother-in-law’s version:

The ingredients are the same. Just add 1 tsp of coriander and leave out the oil

Curry leaves should be microwaved for three minutes, a minute at a time

Microwave tamarind for 30 seconds

Dry roast the dals, pepper and the red chillies

Take off flame and cool

Grind everything together with ¼ tsp hing and salt

How to eat: The quantities mentioned here will yeild about 1/4 cup of curry leaf powder that can be mixed with 1.5-2 cups of cooked rice. Add 2 tsp of ghee and eat

Beetroot curry with onion


(Serves one)

Beetroot – 1 (large)

Onion – 1

Dhania powder – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – ½ tsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Urad dal – ½ tsp (leave out urad dal and mustard and use jeera instead to give it a north-Indian effect)

Oil – 1/2 tsp

Chopped coriander – 1 tbsp


Pressure cook beetroot till 2 whistles. Let cool and chop

Heat oil in a kadhai. Splutter mustard seeds and add urad dal (Splutter jeera if using)

Add onion when dal turns golden-brown

Sate till it becomes translucent

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and chopped beet

Sauté for a couple of mins and add salt

Sauté for another minute and turn off heat

Transfer to serving bowl and mix chopped coriander leaves

Beetroot with coconut


(Serves one)

Beetroot – 1 (large)

Fresh grated coconut – 1 tbsp


Pressure cook beetroot till 2 whistles. Let cool and dice fine

Transfer to serving bowl and top with grated coconut. Eat!

PS: Beetroot is naturally somewhat sweet and its taste is accentuated when topped with fresh coconut. It makes for a wonderful salad

BTW, I refrigerated the beetroot water and will make and post the recipe for the rasam tomorrow

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