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!

To a refreshing 2012: Avocado Chutney

After a 3-month hiatus, I am back to the blogosphere with plenty of good wishes for a belated but very Happy & refreshing 2012 to all. I hope the year has been good so far and you are looking forward to the rest of the year.

In the beginning of the year, a friend said that 2012 is a year of change. I made fun of him then, but I get a feeling – he is going to be right.

For me, 2012 kicked off in a memorable way. V started school this year. Play school – but a school nevertheless. He was excited about going to school and that was a good sign. I really didn’t expect him to be shy. I was more worried about the other kids as my little one can be too friendly at times and this goes beyond the social norms of what is acceptable as friendly. How do you teach your little ones to behave in the most “adult” like ways. Shake hands (don’t hug someone you just met 5 minutes ago… because that’s socially frowned upon). At the same time, we hug our kids at every opportunity we get. I tell him not to give instructions to other kids (the poor guy is just doing what he is told) because we should let other people be & honestly because it’s not what is expected of a kid his age. Other kids have their own parents to instruct them! Ironical, isn’t it?

I often wonder about the true meaning of the word ‘parenting’. I wish it were as simple as providing the best environment for our kids to turn out to be the smartest in every sphere of life – it is not. Is it us trying to be good parents or is it our kids teaching us how to be good parents – instinctively through their innocence? They inspire us to introspect. They make us want to be a better person – someone they will feel proud to have as their Parent.

It goes beyond the relationship shared between our children and us. It is also a constant reminder of our parents’ journey to get us to where we are today…

Leaving you with that thought and looking forward to your views, it’s time to talk about the refreshing Avocado chutney.

This one doesn’t have a very long history. When we were growing up in India, Avocado was something I’d never seen or heard of. However, I am told that it is readily available now, at least in the metros. This version of the chutney originated in my big sis’ home in Vancouver & it’s traveled a long way since. It’s been shared with friends and has become a part of their daily meals as well.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

Avocado: 2 (approx 300 gms)
Onion: ½ medium sized finely chopped
Ginger: 1 tsp (optional)
Garlic: 1/2 tsp (optional)
Green chillies: 2-3 finely chopped
Coriander leaves: 2 heaped tbsp chopped
Lime juice: 1 ½ tbsp
Roasted cumin powder: ½ tsp
Salt: to taste
Mustard oil: 1 tsp (can be replaced with Olive oil)

How I did it:

When you buy avocado from the market, you will most likely need to leave it outside the fridge for 2-3 days to ripen. This ensures that the avocado is soft and easy to mash. You can feel the softness by pressing on the outside. Once it is ripe, store it in the fridge. As a word of caution, do not leave it out for too long !

Now cut the avocado from the middle, as shown in the picture. Pull out the halves by twisting the 2 halves in opposite direction. Next, scoop the avocado out from the skin using a spoon. If the avocado is ripe, it will come off quite clean.

Using the back of a fork, mash the avocado in a bowl. I have used a blender to do this job but I prefer using the fork because the pulp is so soft that blending in makes it into a paste. I like its buttery and nutty texture and using a fork preserves that texture.

Now add the chopped onions, ginger, garlic, chillies, coriander leaves, roasted cumin powder and salt.

Finish it with lime juice and a drizzle of mustard oil for that extra zing! Mix all the ingredients with a spoon. Adjust the seasoning as per your taste.

Notes:

  • Avocado tends to brown very quickly and lime juice helps to maintain it’s vibrant color. Prepare this dish closer to the time when you want to eat it or the avocado may turn brown.
  • I like the taste of raw ginger and garlic in the above proportions. If you do not like the taste of raw ginger or garlic, you can skip it or alter the proportions.
  • If you do not like the flavor of mustard oil, use olive oil instead. I used olive oil for my little one when he was younger. Now he’s gotten used to the flavor of mustard oil too 😉

Enjoy it as a side with any meal!