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!!


Tea said...

Thanks, Manisha. I can't wait to try this!

Anonymous said...

Tea, once you get the hang of this, you can adjust it to your tastes. Sometimes, I add finely chopped red onion. Other times, I don't temper it with oil.

You can use cucumber (diced small) instead of beet, as another variation. When I make that I add lightly crushed roasted peanuts.

Let me know how you liked it! I need to update this post with a picture. I think I have one somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Hi Manisha
My grandma makes a version of this salad. I don't think that she uses ginger though.
She boils the beets, then puts them in a blender for a few spins..not fully pureed ..a few chunks remain.
Then adds yogurt to it and finally a "tadka" with red peppers, curry leaves , mustard, hing and maybe some cilantro in the end. Yummers. :)
I have bookmarked your blog for further reading.

Are you a Konkani by any chance ??
Just curious.


Anonymous said...

Gopal, welcome to IFR! Ginger is not there in the traditional recipe. I'd love to call it my touch but a friend of mine adds ginger to her salads and they taste really good. I tried it with this raita and we liked it a lot. Therefore...

I don't think we qualify to be Konkanis. We have roots in Goa as well as Kumta and Karwar. My generation of the family now has members from the length and breadth of the country!

I'll look forward to your feedback on my recipes!

Anonymous said...

Hey Manisha
Yes, for sure. I will be looking at your website for tips and tricks. I am always trying out recipes and am really passionate about food. I enjoy cooking and feeding people.

Thank you for your wonderful website.


FH said...

Hi Manisha,3 months is a long time!:))I have been cooking ofcourse and had 2 weeks holiday too.Now back what I do best!:))
Fab Beet salad! Happy Shankranti!:)

Anonymous said...

Asha, 3 months is indeed a long time but that way back was in 2004. :-D I just switched to the new Blogger so this post probably showed up as 'new' in the RSS feed. Sorry if that was confusing but I don't have any control over it! You have a great 2007!

Anonymous said...

That was confusing all right...but you have been busy again methinks!! Was happy to see a 'new' post though!

And yes, Happy Sankrant!

Anonymous said...

Anita, a new post is coming soon! When Asha posted here, I realized I had a picture of the beet raita, so I updated the post with it. :D

Til gul ghya ani god god bola! My aunt's sending me some of her to-die for tilache ladu! Yay!

Meena said...

I use the leaves of the beet to make masala sandwiches; dal; stew(kootu) added to Adai and dosa batters etc.,
It is chock full of nutrients and can be used in the place of Spinach.
The leaves are incredibly rich in nutrients, concentrated in vitamins and minerals as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin.

smita said...

Hi Manisha JI, Wonderful website and awesome recipes. I saw this beet root recipe and i exactly do this with carrots but didn't know about yogurt. I just add the tadka + green chillies+ grated carrots+ Lime juice . Will try the beets for now. Also wanted to share that since Beets has iron and milk or milk products slows the absorption of iron if taken with iron foods /tablets .so in order to utilize maximum iron from beets ,yogurt might not be a good idea. For just taste sake yogurt sounds great !!