Happy New Year 2004

I can't believe I haven't posted for more than 3 months. I have been busy busy busy. What have I been doing? I wish I knew! Cooking? Definitely! A family has to eat delicious Indian food, you know!! Sigh! This reminds me of a conversation that took place in my living room the other day...

The Lagaan CD was being played for the millionth time and once more. As 'Ghanana ghanana' died down, my daughter decided to let loose the questions that were building up in her mind.

Her: Why did the people in the song want it to rain? Because they wanted to get wet and then sing in the rain?
Hubby: Kind of...but they really wanted it to rain cos they needed the water for their crops.
What is it with these IIT folks? Why can't they talk to a 5 year old in a language that she might understand?!!!
Her: Daddy, what are crops?
Hubby: Crops are the plants you grow. Like corn, rice, wheat, beans, sugarcane...all those people in the song are farmers and they grow crops.
Her: So they grow crops because they did not have food to eat?
Hubby: They keep some of the crops for food and they sell the rest . They grow crops for a living.
Ayayay! Living? Does she even know what living is???
Her: Daddy, what does for a living mean?
Arrrrghhh! What is he up to?? What is he even thinking??
Hubby: A living is what you do to earn money...
Me (to the rescue): Like your class teacher. She teaches for a living. Your bus driver. She drives the bus for a living. They get money for doing that and so they can write checks and pay their bills and buy food to eat.
Her: Daddy, what do you do for a living? Are you a father?
Me: He does not get paid to do that, sweetie. So that's not his living. He works with computers and does programming so he's a computer programmer and that's what he does for a living.
Her: I get it!! The farmers grow crops for a living. Daddy programs computers for a living! Mumma, what do you do for a living!! I know! I know! Mumma's a cook!! A really really good cook!!

There was no point getting worked up, especially when it was followed by so much heartfelt and genuine praise. Oh well!!

I happened to be making a very refreshing beetroot salad at the time....so without further ado, here's the recipe:

Beet Salad in yogurt
Spice level: A little zing is always nice.

  • 1 bunch of beetroot, boiled
  • 2-3 tsps of oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • pinch asafoetida
  • 1/8 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp urad dal**optional
  • 1 thai chilli or long hot pepper, de-seeded and split down its length**optional
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • (kadipatta)**optional
  • 1/4 tsp juice of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt
  • salt to taste

  1. Peel and grate the boiled beetroots. (Discard the leaves. I have no clue what to do with beetroot leaves. I save them every time thinking that I will try cooking them but by the time I get to them, they look awful and very uninspiring)
  2. Heat the oil in a small pan.
  3. Add the mustard seeds. When they start crackling, add the asafoetida. If the oil gets very hot, simply turn the heat off completely.
  4. Add cumin seeds
  5. Add the hot peppers/chilli and the curry leaves. Watch out for splattering hot oil. I usually toss these in and cover the pan quickly to avoid the splatter and an oily mess.
  6. Add the urad dal. (White lentils)
  7. Take the pan off the flame and add the grated beetroot to this yummy flavored oil or the other way around.
  8. Add the salt.
  9. Squeeze the juice out of the ginger and add just the juice.
  10. Add the yogurt and mix well.
  11. Chill well before serving.

It's really a delight. I grew up hating beetroot. Its very color put me off. Plus it was always so tasteless. I wondered what the adults found so inspiring in something so bland and yukky. It's an excellent source of iron. It is noted for being more easily assimilated by the human body than man-made forms of iron. I remember making this salad very frequently to help boost my Mom's low hemoglobin numbers.

Try it! According to the health experts and nutritionists, the more natural color you have in your diet, the healthier it is. The color of this salad is a rich vibrant deep pink. It's gorgeous to look at and invigorating for the taste buds!! Indian Food Rocks! It does!!