Beetroot Koshimbir(-ish)

I wasn’t really in the mood to cook anything elaborate today .. well that’s me many days! I used to beat myself over it in the past. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that it can be a blessing in disguise. It makes me more efficient and creative in the process.

I checked my fridge and these beets were lying neglected in a corner. They demanded my attention and I was happy to give it to them, but … umm.. just not indulge them too much 😉

So that’s the birth story of this marvelous recipe 😉

Inspired by the Carrot Koshimbir, I learnt a couple of years ago from @indianfoodrocks, here’s what I did. Now this probably isn’t authentic and it wasn’t my attempt to make one either. But this is what I made and this is exactly what I’d like to share with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did.

Serves 3-4 (as a side)

Ingredients:

Beetroot : 2, large. Washed, Peeled and grated using the big holes of your box grater.
Lime: juice of 1 (adjust according to taste)
Salt: to taste
Ground black pepper: a pinch or two

For the tempering:

Coconut oil: 1 tbsp (you can replace it with any neutral oil if you like)
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Split,Skinless urad dal: 1 tbsp
Green chillies: 2 (My kids were eating it, so i kept the green chillies whole. You can chop it up if you like it spicy)
Dry red chillies: 2, torn in half
Curry leaves: 10
White sesame seeds: 1 tbsp
Sliced almonds: 2 tbsp (can be replaced with peanuts)
Salt (a pinch)

Method:

  1. In a microwaveable bowl/plate, add the grated beetroot and 3 tbsp of water. Cover it with a microwavable lid, leaving a little space for the steam to escape. Microwave for 2 mins. Stir. Then additional 1 min. I want them very slightly cooked, while still retaining their crunch.
  2. Remove from the microwave and squeeze the juice of 1 lime. Add some salt to taste and ground black pepper. Mix well. And let it sit for 20 mins. Transfer it to the serving plate.
  3. Make sure you have all the ingredients next to you before you start the tadka process. You’ll have to work very quickly now.
  4. After 20 mins, heat coconut oil in a tadka pan. You’ll have to work very quickly now as these ingredients burn fast. Add the mustard seeds. Once it starts to splutter, reduce heat and add the cumin seeds, urad dal, sliced almonds and dry red chillies. 
  5. Stir for a couple of seconds and add the green chillies, curry leaves and the sesame seeds. Keep stirring. A few seconds more and you’ll notice the almonds start to get darker in color. Turn off the gas at this stage. Sprinkle a pinch of salt in the tadka now, mix everything and add it over the grated and microwaved beetroot. That’s all it takes and you have an amazing Beetroot Koshimbir / salad / side ready in no time!

Street Food Cravings: Kaala Chana Chaat

Kaala Chana Chaat (A warm, mildly sweet, tangy, spicy, herby street food of black chickpeas and potatoes)

Today, I shall take you on a nostalgic trip to my country of birth, India.

Where birds sing on roof tops, children joyfully play a game of hop scotch, a street vendor calls out from a distant corner, there is life all around and conversations abundant.

As I prepare myself for my trip to Asia in summer, I cannot help but imagine how things are back in my country of birth. I am also super excited about all the food that I am going to savour.

On this chilly spring evening, this warm chaat and a cup of tea is all I need in my life! The mild tang and sweetness of the dried pomegranates, some heat from the chili powder and fresh green chili peppers, freshly chopped onions, cilantro and the mildly pungent asafetida, the crunch from the sev, instantly takes me back to wander in the streets of India. My sweet neighbourhood. My childhood.

We love our street food and sometimes we try to recreate it at home!

Here’s one that R made one of the weekend afternoons when I was on my downtime! I came drawn to the kitchen with the aroma of all the warm spices he was using.

This is his creation but the only contribution I made was to suggest adding the Anardana powder because I really liked how my friend Dee had used Anardana in one of her Mom’s recipes of Dried Chhole and I’d loved it! So, thank you Dee!:)

For the longest time, R & I just couldn’t be together in the kitchen at the same time. I’ve had fights over how the onions were cut or which variety of okra R picked up from the grocery store! After moving here, he cooks over the weekend and I get fed!

Now, we give each other ideas when we try to create or recreate something. I must add that he has a very well developed and a sensitive palate, and that is a huge help in terms of feedback when trying out new recipes or food! He gives me critical and honest feedback so every recipe that comes to the blog has passed his test, for sure!

This is a great starter for a party, an afternoon snack or a street food themed party, as one can do most of the prep earlier. It’s perfect to serve in the slightly cooler months. However, you can cook this ahead and keep it in the fridge to serve it as a cold for summer.

Recipe for this warm Kaala Chana Chaat (A warm, mildly sweet & tangy, and spicy, herby salad with black chickpeas and potatoes)

Makes: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

Mustard Oil: 2 tsp
Asafetida (Hing): ¼ tsp
Ground Dried Pomegranate Powder (Anardana Powder): 2 tsp
Cumin Powder: 2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: ½ tsp
Salt: To Taste
Ground Pepper: ½ tsp (or to taste)
Boiled Black chickpeas (Boiled Kaala Chana): 2 cups
Diced Boiled Potatoes: 1 cup
Chaat Masala: 1 tsp
Mustard Oil: 2 tsp to add on top

Garnish (Totally customized):

Onions: Chopped, fine (a tbsp per serving or as per your liking)
Green chilli peppers, finely chopped (as you prefer)
Cilantro – a handful, roughly chopped
Lime – a squeeze, or more if you like
Crispy Sev (Chickpea flour) – a tsp or as much as you like

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tsp of mustard oil.
  2. While the oil is still getting warm, add Asafetida powder, Ground Anardana, Cumin powder, chilli powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir well, in the oil but ensure they don’t burn (adjust the heat as necessary).
  4. Add 2 cups of boiled Kala Chana making sure to add very little of the boiling liquid.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Continue cooking on medium heat until the spices are uniformly coated and stick to the Black Chickpeas & there’s no liquid left.
  7. Add the diced, boiled potatoes (1 cup)
  8. Mix well until it is well coated in all the spices.
  9. Now add 1 tsp of chaat masala.
  10. Stir for another min, add 1/2 tbsp of mustard oil and turn off heat.

Serve warm, loading it with garnish as you like!

To Serve:

Scoop a portion of the cooked Chickpeas and Potatoes in a bowl.

Add a tbsp or two of the chopped onions, green chillies (as per taste) and some freshly chopped cilantro. Squeeze a bit of lime. Enjoy!