A trip to any grocery store invariably ends up in me looking for fresh beets. And if it is usually packed with leaves, then the fresher the better naturally. The gorgeous color and crispness of the leaves is a natural draw for me. Actually I am a sucker when it comes to all kinds of fresh leafy greens (Make it most of the veggies ). Can never resist the siren’s call !!!
So there was this lushest pack of beets beckoning to me in the produce section of HT. Gorgeous bright green leaves with veins of deep red and big fat beets clustered to it. I just had to pick it up! Don’t judge me please, I can always rationalize it as how one can never have too many veggies. So in any case, these gorgeous beauties came home and I was itching to make something out of it. Usually the leaves can be sautéed and made with a bit of soaked dal to yield a side accompaniment. But I want something else.. I wanted to make this relish that my mom and grandma could practically whip out of any vegetable. The basic recipe remains the same but the varieties it yields with it as the base is amazing. This is great as a spread, a side dish or to simply use it up mixed with rice and veggies as well.
Beet leaves sautéed and fine ground with roasted urad dal, tamarind, red chilies, whole black pepper to yield a slightly spicy, a bit tangy and wonderful earthy relish/ spread/thogayal. Chockfull of nutrients in a bowl!
Prep time : 10 min Cook time : 10 min Yields : 8 -10 servings
Shelf life : 1 week refrigerated.
- Beet leaves – trim stem, chop roughly to yield 2 cups
- Skinned, split Urad Dal : 1/2 cup
- Wet tamarind : 1 inch piece
- Whole black pepper : 1/4 Tbsp.
- Red chilies ( mix mild to high heat) – 4-6 or lower according to spice level
- Oil : 2 tsp.
- Salt : 1 tsp + to taste
- Water : 1/3 cup – add as required to grind
Optional : Seasoning ( but highly recommended)
- Oil : 1 tsp.
- Curry leaves : 4-6
- Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
- Hing : a generous pinch
- In a skillet add initially 1 tsp. of oil and on heating add chilies and whole black peppers,
- Add washed,skinned, split urad dal and roast till it is a nice brown in color. Drain and set aside to cool.
- In the same skillet , add another tsp. of oil and now add the thoroughly washed and cut beet leaves and sauté till it is tender. Say about 5 minutes. Add the piece of tamarind. Turn off the flame and scoop it side in another plate to cool.
- On cooling , grind the dal and chili and pepper mix initially along with salt to a rough grind.
- Add the leaves and tamarind and a couple of tablespoons of water and grind till you reach your desired consistency. Add more water if desired. A smoother relish will be easier to handle but will have lower shelf life if you add too much water.
Optional Seasoning but highly recommended:
- Heat oil in skillet, add hing and when it sizzles add mustard seeds which will splutter in the heat and then add curry leaves.
- Turn off the flame and pour it over the relish and mix it well.
- This is a great way to temper the spices as well enhance the taste if the relish along with increasing the shelf life a bit.
Enjoy with hot steamed rice, phulkas , dal and even a slice of toast!