Beetroot Saar Recipe
Beetroots are a totally under-utilized vegetable in Indian cuisine. As a child growing up, beets were never one of 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.
If you are not a big fan of beets, do try this recipe – I’m sure you will become a big beet fan after just one bite! My Roasted Beetroot Saar is not only delicious, but also absolutely lovely in its color – a gorgeous deep magenta pink! 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.
BEETROOT CHI SAAR (Spicy Beetroot Soup)
1 cup cooked toor dal (aka split yellow pigeon peas or arhar dal), mashed
3-4 medium size beets
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
1 tsp ground cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric (haldi)
¼ tsp sugar (or jaggery aka gul), to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
4-5 cups water (or you can use the cooking liquid from the dal)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
8-10 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola), or you can use ghee
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the beets on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with a little oil. Then fold the aluminum foil to create a completely sealed packet and place on a baking dish or tray in the center of the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the beets are completely tender (carefully stick a knife in the center of the beet to check). The roasting time really varies depending upon the size of the beets. Now remove the beets and allow them to cool slightly. When they are cool enough to handle, gently remove the outer peels – they should come off very easily. If you are worried about beet stains, gently rub off the beet peels by using a paper towel. Just rub the beet between a dry paper towel or simply wear disposable kitchen gloves. Now cut the beet into large pieces & then using a blender or food processor, puree the beets until your preferred consistency is reached. I prefer a coarse puree with a little texture but feel free to puree and even sieve the beets for a smoother texture & consistency.
In a medium size soup pot on medium high heat, add 4-5 cups of water (or add the dal cooking liquid) along with the pureed beets. Mix well to combine & add the cooked/mashed toor dal along with the garlic & ginger. Stir & let cook for a few minutes before adding the spices (ground cumin powder, turmeric, sugar, salt & pepper. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 6-8 minutes.
Now in a small saucepan on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they stop splattering, quickly add the cumin seeds along with the green chilies, curry leaves & asafetida. After 30 seconds, carefully pour this hot oil mixture over the beetroot saar. Garnish with cilantro leaves & serve hot as part of any typical Maharashtrian meal.
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