Wednesday 3 November 2010

Beetroot Curry

Beetroot curry

Has Browners gone completely insane? Beetroot curry sounds repulsive. He must have gone native. What’s next, pickled herring soufflé? A dill and walnut chocolate cake? Lingonberry scrambled eggs? But fear not. Beetroot curry is actually rather good. And fabulous to look at.

As you may have noticed, I’ve become rather attached to beetroot since moving to Sweden. It’s all part of my effort to eat more vegetables, to cut down on expensive meat and to become a bit healthier. And it turns out that beetroot are a blessing. They’re tasty, healthy, filling and hold their own against robust flavours. But would beetroot be able to cope with curry?

Chicken curry chef

When Cowie and I were in India this time two years ago, we had a couple of cooking lessons from some of our hosts. I’ll never forget this chap at the Villa Rivercat in Goa patiently whipping up an incredible chicken curry with spices that were so expressive they were like Eddie Murphy after a dose of amphetamines. We both came back from India feeling incredibly healthy having eaten mainly vegetables and fish throughout our trip.

Inspired by thoughts of India I hatched a plan to create the reddest curry every seen and set off in search of spices. The Curry House, in the quaint district of Haga, has every spice known to mankind. And then some. They even sell bizarre things like black feathers, rhubarb root and lots of exotic medicines. It’s a bit like the market in Munnar, but less crazy.

Umbrella market man

Armed with fennel seeds, cumin, star anise, cardamom, dried red chillies, mustard seeds, turmeric and a massive bag of orange lentils I aromatically waddled back to my flat to do battle with the beetroot.


10 beetroot
10 small potatoes
1 bag of fresh spinach (or can be frozen)
1 can of coconut milk
6 tomatoes
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
Chicken/vegetable stock
2 thumbs of ginger
1 dessert spoon of cumin seeds
1 desert spoon of fennel seeds
1 dessert spoon of mustard seeds
1 desert spoon of coriander seeds
10 cardamom pods
5 star anise
2 desert spoons of garam masala
6 dried chillies
Vegetable oil
Coriander leaves


Roast all the spices (apart from the garam masala and cardamom) until they are aromatic but not burnt. Then pound to a dust in a pestle and mortar.

Sauté the onion until soft then add the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add the grated ginger and breath deeply. A few minutes later throw in all the spices including the garam masala. Allow to mingle and cook for whilst you heat your stock up.

Pour in the hot stock and then add the chopped and peeled beetroot along with the dried chillies and cardamom. You want the liquid to be covering the beetroot.

Allow this to bubble away for about an hour with the lid on – until the beetroot begin to become tender. Then add the halved potatoes and take the lid off so that the liquid reduces. Once the potatoes are becoming tender add the can of coconut milk and 6 finely chopped tomatoes.

Taste for spice levels and seasoning and adjust accordingly with some chopped fresh chillies. At the last minute, stir through some spinach. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve.

Beetroot curry close

I had it straight up with no rice, lentils or bread. But I think it would be best served with a chapatti or steaming hot naan. Whilst it might be an assault on the eyeballs it’s a delight to eat.

Beetroot curry top down

I made a large vat of it and lived off it for most of the week. You can add some pork or chicken when you are craving a bit of meat.

Further reading:

Beetroot curry recipe from One Bite at a Time
Beetroot curry recipe from Coffee Muffins


Helen said...

I've seen quite a few beetroot curry recipes in cookbooks that I have, so it's not an unfamiliar idea to me but I've still not tried it. Madhur Jaffrey has some in her Curry Bible and Das Sreedharan has some in his 'Indian' cookbook. You've inspired me to give them a whirl so thank you. I can imagine the earthy beet flavour can really take the spice. I love a highly spiced beetroot chutney too.

Katja said...


Unknown said...

Gorgeous, I am in love with the color and my thoughts on how it will taste.

Unknown said...

You have gone a little beetroot mad - but I love it. Very creative Browners.

Jonathan said...

@Helen - I didn't find any recipes for beetroot curry from her online. But wish I had done. But hadn't heard of Das Sreedharan, so will look them up. I love beet curry and suspect there are lots of other ways you can currify them. Some recipes suggested grating them. Others made spiced fritters... Looking forward to seeing what you whip up.

@Katja - Nej. Tack dig.

@Jennifuria - Awesome colour. And great taste.

@Gourmet Chick - Beetroot crazy... or as they might say in Sweden... "rödbetor galen"

Caitlin @ Roaming Tales said...

Sounds fab. I love beetroot! I've made beetroot curry in the slow cooker before. I think it had turnips as well, but that may have been my innovation rather than the recipe.

Unknown said...

Of course there are the obvious drawbacks of eating too much beetroot... but let's not go into that here. Lovely recipe and great pics as usual. X

Jonathan said...

@Caitlin - Turnips is an interesting innovation. May well give it a go.

@Dom - Those problems were quite funny! Especially as I ate the same thing in various guises for the best part of a week!

Cook in a Curry said...

Love the recipe. I make something similar suing coconut milk. But beetroot is so unerrated that it should really be used more often. One of my fav Indian dishes using beets is a thoran with grated coocnut. Gorgeous.

Jonathan said...

@Cook in a Curry - Glad it's got the thumbs up from you. And looking forward to exploring your site and tucking into a few of your recipes throughout the winter.

Cakelaw said...

I think this sounds fab - I adore beetroot.

Jonathan said...

@Cakelaw - Thanks. I am sure we will be seeing beetroot again soon.

Niamh said...

Oh - I love the mustard in here. Lovely. Beet curry is just delicious, as are beets in general. Lovely!

Mary said...

I am definitely going to try this, as I'm beetroot crazy too, but have never had them in a curry. That's soon to change!


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