the appetizer:

Cook Indian dishes at home with Ruta Kahate's 5 Spices, 50 Dishes, including recipes like Sautéed Beets with Mustard and Lemon Juice, Anglo-Indian Beef Stir-Fry, and Shrikhand with Yogurt Cheese, Saffron, and Pistachios.



Sautéed Beets
with Mustard and Lemon Juice

Sautéed Beets with Mustard and Lemon Juice
Sautéed Beets with Mustard and Lemon Juice

Serves 4


This recipe transforms the humble beet from a hearty root vegetable into a light, fresh-tasting dish you can serve all year-round. You may use all red beets, but it makes for an attractive dish if you get a mixture of different colors. I love serving these beets with Everyday Yellow Dal (page 39 of the book), steamed rice, and Crispy Okra Raita (page 93 of the book) for a simple weeknight meal.

  • 2 pounds gold and red beets
         (about 8 medium or 16 baby beets)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 small green serrano chiles, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

Scrub and rinse the beets well. Cover with water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, covered, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Use a paring knife to test for doneness; if it slides into the thickest part of the beet fairly easily, they are done. Drain, cool, peel, and then chop the beets into 1/2-inch cubes if using medium-sized beets. Quarter the baby beets.

Make the tadka: Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or spatter screen. When the seeds have stopped sputtering, add the chiles and give a quick stir. Quickly throw in the beets and salt. Toss, cover, and steam over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Remove to a serving dish and toss with the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve warm or cold.

  • from:
  • 5 Spices, 50 Dishes
    Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices
  • by Ruta Kahate
  • Photographs by Susie Cushner
  • Chronicle Books, 2007; $19.95
  • Paperback; 132 pp; 30 color photographs
  • ISBN 081185342X; ISBN13 9780811853422
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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5 Spices, 50 Dishes


This page created July 2007

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