I served this at a dinner for 18 Buddhist teachers who fell in love with it so much that they asked me to teach the chefs at their restaurant, 一沙一塵MetroBodhi how to cook this. This dish, along with two others they liked haven’t made it onto the menu as yet. I will have to go back and re-teach as the teachers still need to get the hang of it.
This dish is devilishly easy but so delicious, anyone tasting it would imagine you spent hours perfecting it. I got it off the website of a great Indian chef. Sanjeev Kapoor. I love his recipes. I loved the idea of beets because first, I NEED them and secondly, you don’t much of beets in Indian cooking. My intention was to show the Buddhist teachers a new way to experience Indian food. I’m tired to hell with the typical, commercialised, washed down dishes of palak paneer, and whatever khorma are selling at the below average Indian restaurants at above average prices in Taipei.
When imagining the flavour, think about peppery mustard, nutty chana and earthy curry leaves.
1 large beet, cut into cubes (yeah, you can in Taipei;) Mr. Kapoor’s original recipe asks for 3 – 4 small ones
Your favourite cooking oil – enough to stir fry
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (I use 1 tsp)
2 tsp chana dhal (I use more, I’m pretty full-on:D)
2 red chili, split length ways, insides removed
10 – 12 curry leaves (is life possible without curry leaf?)
Now the original recipe asks for 1/4 cup coconut but I don’t dig coconut in food unless it’s Thai so I substituted a nice, dark balsamic to add a but of tartness. If you’re inclined towards coconut, go for it.
1 tbls chopped cilantro (I would freshly chopped mint and basil for some complexity)
Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seed. Once they start dancing around like Freddy Mercury is singing right next to you, add your chana dhal. I had no idea one could fry chana. This was a very exciting discovery for me. Stir for a bit then add curry leaves and chili and inhale! My word! Curry leaf is just heaven! Add beets and salt, cover and cook. I like my beets to be a bit crunchy so I won’t cook them right through. Once cooked, add balsamic or coconut and cilantro/ basil/ mint.
Here’s some info on curry leaf: Curry tree – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia