As a child I used to hate beets. My mom would never listen to me and pack a box full of steamed beets tempered with mustard seeds and coconuts for lunch to school. I would eat my lunch in the play area outside the classrooms where there will be piles of sand, twigs and mud around. There was this silly tradition to place a little amount of food to God before we ate followed by a little prayer to shower us with good grades. Some silly boy/girl who didn’t like what his mom gave for lunch must have started this tradition and it went viral in school. Anything and everything nutritious from greens to dhaals (lentils) would lie dumped in the corner like a waste pile while the deep fried puris (flat bread), samosas, dosas went inside the happy tummy. We would head back to class half starving but half happy that mom would not know about this secret and would think that we ate them all. And I took this little ritual bit seriously, I suppose. Instead of keeping a little to God, I used to offer my entire beets stir fry and many more healthy dishes to Him. I mean don’t you guys think it tastes like dirt. I never attempted to relish it until my high school days but slowly when I learned about its health benefits, I started with a simple stir fry with beets scented with coconut oil. That was one dish made by S chechi’s mom and I got addicted to her version of beets from there on.
Goodness about this blood red colored vegetable:
1. The reddish color of beets comes from betacyanin and it is this one which protects you from different types of cancer.
2. It is loaded with phytochemicals.
3. They are rich in certain vitamins like A, C and minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous and copper.
4. If you are constipating, try adding beets to your food as they have good amounts of fiber in them.
5. Beets can lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure and improve the immunity.
Getting beets into my husband’s food is a challenge for me. He will complain about the earthy taste it has. One cannot blame him for that? It tastes muddy because of a chemical called geosmin which is produced by microbes in soil and the beets for some reason absorbs them. So its the cooks like us who have to come up with tricky ideas to get beets in our loved one’s meals. I have tried several dishes with beets – first up was beets soup, phew! went straight to trash then I served our age old dish beets stir fry (poriyals) – again back to trash. Fed up and irritated with my husband’s cold shoulders to beets I came up with beets vathakozhambhu (beets simmered with tamarind and other spices) – was a success then it was beets chocolate cake – success again and now this lamb curry with beets – super success!
I saw this recipe in Kulsum’s beautiful blog. She had made lamb with chunks of beets, onions and tomatoes. I made a few variation based on my family’s liking for beets. Since my husband doesn’t like the gritty muddy taste of beets, I made a puree of it and went ahead making the curry just like Kulsum but without tomatoes and tamarind. My son loved this curry and kept licking his tiny cute over and over again. The mild sweetness from the beets blended beautifully with juicy meat and aromatic spices. Since they were pressure cooked, the flesh just knocked off the bone. The curry was balanced with amazing texture, pretty color and intense flavor.
Fresh crisp air, spring flowers at the dinner table, colorful easter eggs in a basket, bunny shaped chocolates everywhere, sunshine to brighten your day – Easter is here and it’s the time of the year to make new memories with family. If you are planning to serve lamb this season, try this recipe for sure. You are giving your family
the goodness of the beets
along with the meats
(wow! wonderful rhyming right?!?).
Generally people broil, grill or roast but today’s recipe calls for pressure cooking the lamb. Yes, it saves a lot of your cooking time and gas and the juicy lamb will just fall of the bone.
Lamb or goat or mutton – Whatever you call it, this meat is gaining a lot of attention in South beach diet or in any program that recommends lean loin chops or leg of lamb. It is both lean and tasty – a wonderful pack of two great things. If turkey is for Thanksgiving then Easter goes synonymous with lamb. Hence for this Easter why don’t you all team up the lean lamb/goat chunks with beets and flavorful Indian spices and turn the bland lamb to an exotic delicious curry.
Lamb curry with beets
Cooking Level: Easy
Time: 30 minutes
Source: Kulsum (with my variations)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 pounds lamb, lean meat – cubed, can be with bones
- 1 medium sized beets or less , about 250 grams
- 2 cups red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder ( I use Kashmiri hot)
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 cups water
- Salt to taste
- Pressure cooker with a whistle and gasket
- Wash and peel the beets. Cut them into inch size cubes. Set aside.
- Heat oil in the base of the pressure cooker. Once hot enough, add the beets and let it brown a bit, about 5-8 minutes. It will turn soft and then increase the heat to high and let it roast for 2-3 minutes. Remove and let it cool. Once cooled grind them to a fine puree (without water).
- Add the onions with little salt to the same oil (that cooked the beets) and let it cook covered for 8 minutes, until they brown.
- Now add the ginger and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the raw smell disappears. Add the meat and brown the meat. Add the turmeric, red chili,coriander powder and garam masala.Stir to combine.
- Pour the beets puree and two cups of water. Pressure cook till the meat is tender, about 10 whistles.
- Garnish with cilantro and adjust salt to taste. Serve hot with rice/naan/chapati or roti.
1. Since it is made with lean meat, it can be eaten in phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet. As it has beets in it, it cann’t be eaten in phase 1. But you can make the same curry without beets or make it with zucchini, bengal gram, egg plants.
2.An ideal side idea for those looking to lose weight. The entire dish has used only 1 tablespoon oil and the meat gets cooked in the juicy beets sauce and not the oil.
3. Can be eaten in moderation during gestational diabetes and also a great way to get beets to your kids.