Beets are a totally under-utilized vegetable in Indian cuisine. As a child growing up, beets were never one my favorites but now I enjoy them immensely. They are delicious, very healthy and full of lots of vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of potassium, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, iron and both vitamins A and C.
I prefer using baby beets (1-1.5 inches in size) for this dish; they tend to be a bit sweeter and very tender when cooked. But if baby beets are unavailable, whole beets will work just as well but remember the cooking time will need to be adjusted accordingly. I also like to use a mix of both baby red ruby beets and baby yellow golden beets for this recipe but feel free to use whatever is most easily available. If your beets come with their greens, don’t throw them out. Beet greens are a wonderful and delicious source of iron and can be used in any vegetable, dal or stir fry dish (similar to spinach).
Since beets are notorious for leaving stains, it may be a good idea to use gloves and an apron when peeling and preparing the beets.
SPICY ROASTED BEETS
1 lb of mixed red and yellow baby beets (peeled and trimmed), cut into small wedges
1 large shallot, finely minced
¼” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
¼ cup of good quality honey
juice of ½ lime (or lemon)
¼ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
pinch of red chili powder, optional
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil, vegetable of canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200-205 deg C).
In a large mixing bowl, add the oil along with the honey and lime juice. Stir well with a whisk to combine and add the ginger and shallot. Next, add all of the spices (salt, pepper, ground cumin, garam masala and red chili powder). Mix well and add the baby beets. Toss gently to coat and transfer to a shallow oven proof baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and allow to roast uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with warm chapatis and fresh Basmati rice.
Add some toasted walnut, almond or cashew pieces to the dish for an extra texture and crunch.