This is a tasty combination we enjoyed recently, when I had a fridge drawer full of beets and a hankering for an aromatic, flavored rice dish. Remembering that lemons and beets pair nicely, I decided it would be worth a try.
It was, combining complex flavors in a simple recipe. You’ve gotta love those Indian spices. Paired with tangy yogurt and fresh cilantro, this dish is a no-brainer.
Healthy choices always at the forefront, I used brown basmati, which also loaned a nutty element to the dish. I was inspired by this beet recipe, which adds besan (chickpea flour) to the recipe before serving. This adds nutritional value, flavor and texture to the curry. Yum!
- 2 cups brown basmati rice
- 4 cups water
Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. You want a dry, fluffy rice rather than a sticky rice. Set aside.
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp black lentils
- 1-2 hot green chillies (Indian, serrano or jalapeno), minced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida (if you’ve got it)
- 4-5 curry leaves or 1 bay leaf
- 1 TBS grapeseed oil or other cooking oil
- salt to taste
In a large wok, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to begin popping. Then add the chillies, lentils, asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric. Fry for a minute longer to release the aromatics of the spices, and then add the rice, lemon juice, lemon zest. Stir to combine, salt to taste.
- 6-8 beets, boiled or roasted and then peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 TBS garlic paste or 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 TBS mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1-2 hot green chillies (Indian, serrano or jalapeno)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- salt to taste
- Oil for cooking
- Plain yogurt & chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
In a large wok, heat the oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and allow them to brown and begin popping. Add the onion, turmeric and hot peppers. Then add the beets and stir will. Add the besan, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons water and continue cooking and stirring until the raw flavor of the besan goes away. Salt to taste.
For a groovy dome-shaped service, choose a round bowl of your preferred serving size. Fill the bottom third with beet curry and the rest with lemon rice. Press down firmly, put a small plate on top and flip over. Carefully remove the bowl, and top with plain yogurt and chopped cilantro. Bon appétit!