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Beetroot Curry

At many times of year, if you are as fortunate as we are, you have a surfeit of vegetable crops including beetroot. Here is an idea how to cook beetroot in an unusual way. It's simplicity belies the smooth, sweet and spicy flavour that results. Do not eat too much of it, you could become addicted. Beetroot is just as good pickled, boiled or roasted, or possibly save some for another day. There are also delicious beetroot soups (bortsch) that can be made quickly and easily. 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. Other beetroot recipes on this site include beetroot and orange salad and beetroot chutney.

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.
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 are ok)
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 the beetroot. Bring back to the boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.
If the sauce is too thin, remove cover, take up the heat, and thicken whilst stirring.


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