BEETROOT Curry At this time of year, if you are as fortunate as we are, you have a surfeit of vegetable crops. Here is an idea how to use one of these. It’s simplicity belies the smooth, sweet flavour that results. Do not eat too much of it, beetroot is just as good boiled or roasted, save some for another good day. What ever you do, make sure that the beet are fresh and not bitter or woody. Take them from the ground and store them in a clamp rather than leave them in the ground too long, particularly in winter.
Ingredients as an accompaniment for 4 to 5 servings:
- 12 oz (375g) raw, peeled beetroot cut into 1/4″ (6.35mm) thick slices about 1/2″ (12mm) wide (wear gloves, they stain!).
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, I sometimes use a little sesame oil as a substitute
- 1 large, fat, clove of garlic chopped as small as you can
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of corn flour to thicken, ordinary flour will do
- Cayenne pepper – I use 1/4 teaspoon, this makes it subtly hot
- 1/2 lb (250g) chopped tomatoes, tinned will do but fresh are better
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Some water, about 1/4 pint is usually enough but be prepared to add more if things get sticky.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. When hot, add the cumin seeds and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute or so. Add the onion, continue stirring and frying. When the onions are just starting to brown, turn down the heat and add the cayenne, stir twice and add the corn flour or flour, keep stirring. The objective is to get the flour to absorb some of the oil. Do not get things too hot at this point. Add the tomatoes and salt. Stir and bring to the boil, add a little more than half of the water, you should have a fairly moderately thick red sauce at this point. Add the beetroot. Bring back to the boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.
If at any point the sauce is too thick, remove cover, add a little more water, take up the heat, and reheat whilst stirring.