Inspired by a Anjum Anand’s gorgeous cookbook Anjum’s New Indian, we could not help ourselves today when we came across these beautiful beets at the farmer’s market. Her book simplifies Indian cooking so that even the most amateur lover of Indian food can feel accomplished. Since we have moved there is nothing we miss more than our local Indian restaurant in The Berkshires. We have not found one here yet. It doesn’t seem to fit in with the numerous fried clam shacks that decorate the landscape. Tonight we decided to make a little snack with our beets and a few other simple ingredients.
Raitas are condiments which are intended to cool the palate when eating spicy foods. There are many, many variations, but most seem to be yogurt based. In her book, Anand says she has never eaten cooked beet in India. In the States we rarely eat it uncooked. She suggests that by leaving it raw it adds a lovely crunch to the raita. This recipe is super simple to make. The flavors become more intense the longer you let it sit. We made ours in the afternoon and enjoyed it with snacks for a light dinner.
1 small golden beet (peeled and finely diced)
3/4 cup plain yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
10 cilantro leaves
Begin by mixing together the beet, yogurt, salt and pepper. In a small saucepan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Cook until they begin to pop at which point you can add the sesame seeds and the cilantro. Pour into the Raita. Serve or chill.
It is that easy. The black sesame seeds provide a nutty flavor and the crunchy mustard seeds a lovely texture. We served ours with pita bagel chips. Even our curious children loved it.