Currently I have been preparing only those dishes which can combat the extreme heat of Dubai summer. Just the other day I cooked Mango Lentil Soup, a traditional Bengali Dal which I should probably refer to as the Bengali Summer Dal! Today’s dish is no exception. Serve this straight out of the fridge as a cold salad and simply devour to feel the automatic air-conditioning.
When I was a child I used to love eating Beetroot because of its potential to use it as a cosmetic. I would put a slice of Beetroot into the cover of a ball-point pen and slowly apply it on my lips just like lipstick. I have used them as blushers too! Sharing stories of childhood silly moments with everyone is sometimes quite fun actually. Not that I have to. But I just felt like sharing. The Z-SISTERS scoff at me when I tell them my story. Even Li’l Z who’s just turned 3! ‘Mummy you were so silly!’ Should I be happy? Or should I be sad? Are their imagination daunted by the I-pads and the X-boxes that surround them?
Big Z asks me to keep all the peeled skins separately. She tells me that she’s going to soak them in little water and use them as a vegetable colour. She has already gathered lots of scrap paper and glued them to each other and is planning to colour the entire thing with the colour that will run out of the peeled Beetroot skins. This is going to be a recycled gift wrapping paper, she says.
Wow! And all this while I thought their imagination was perhaps not getting enough stimulation. Obviously I was wrong. Today’s children are much more aware of other environmental concerns like recycling, waste reduction, pollution etc. These are concepts that we were not even aware of at their age. Anyway, let’s come back to our dish of the day.
This is a very easy recipe and many a times I have served it successfully to my non-Indian friends with very minor modification – without the fried garnish that has been mentioned below.
Following are the characteristics of all recipes doling out of our little hands, big hearth -
♥ Easy to cook
♥ Regular canned products off the shelf may be used (However, we advocate using fresh products)
♥ Goes well both as a regular or party dish
♥ Children can easily help in making the dish (My two little sous-chéfs are aged 8 and 3 years!)
♥ And lastly, guaranteed to be tasty!
Cumin Beetroot Cold Salad
Category – Veg Salad
Beetroot and Cumin both have immense health properties. This salad when served cold is really refreshing and extremely cooling. Freny, my Parsi friend who had introduced me to this salad originally, recalls how Aunty as we call her South-Indian Mum-in-law adds a bit of Bagar/Chaunk/Tadka to the salad to customise it to her traditional South-Indian kitchen. Bagar/Chaunk/Tadka is a kind of tempering or a fried garnish that is commonly used at the end of most Indian cooking. In this salad, Aunty uses the fried garnish of Mustard Seeds and a few pieces of Urad Dal/Black Lentils in white oil.
I find Beetroot extremely photogenic. The cut slices when the red hue runs out from the vegetable itself and stains the plates or even the mess on the sink when the tap water runs the hue out from the peeled skins. Each time I’m surprised when the red hue comes out as soon as I cut them – as if the extreme interior hides a deep secret inside!
I can’t stop clicking. A little into our Beetroot journey…
And the sudden bright surprise…
Even the mess on the sink looks pretty. Rose petals or peeled skins?
For the printable recipe→
Preparation time: 10 minutes (However, please keep aside 20 minutes for refrigeration)
Beetroots – 4 medium, grated into fine long pieces
Onions – 2 medium, peeled and sliced longitudinally
Tomatoes – 2 big, peeled and sliced longitudinally into thin slices
Green Chillies – 1 (optional), cut into very small pieces
Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp (this is my Bengali Granny’s unhealthy secret funda on how to easily acquire Diabetes and also to make the vegetables retain their colour)
Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves – A small bunch, chopped into very small pieces
Salt – as per taste
Lemon – 1 big, squeezed (or 1/2 if you use the Indian Limes as the later tends to taste more sour)
Fried Garnish (optional)
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal/Black Lentils – 1/2 tsp
White Oil – 1/2 tsp
Method of Preparation
- Toss the Beetroot, Onions, Tomatoes, Green Chillies in a mixing bowl
- Toss the sugar
- Add the fried garnish. To make this - Take a small-bottomed wok and once the oil becomes hot add the Mustard Seeds and the Lentils. Let them splutter very slightly (Note: Even a bit too longer than this slightly will make the garnish taste really bitter)
- Refrigerate the Salad mix
- Add Salt, Sugar, Pepper and Lemon or Lime juice and garnish with Coriander leaves just as you are serving (Note: Adding these before will make the salad go soggy)
Beetroot has immense value. It is loaded with powerful antioxidant Betacyanin giving the Beetroot its deep red colour. Beetroot purifies the blood, boosts body’s natural defenses in the liver, regenerates immune cells. It has silica which is vital for healthy skin, fingernails, ligaments, tendons and bones. The other elements that are inside Beetroot are sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iodine, iron, copper, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.
Beetroot is believed to be native of the Mediterranean region of Europe and probably Western Asia. It has been in use for the last 2000 years. Even in the ancient age the Greeks and Romans used Beetroots and was quite a favourite. In-fact, Beetroots have been used as offerings to Apollo in his temple at Delphi. (Info Courtesy: from Big Z’s web reference)
Cumin is used as a very common condiment or spice in dishes from the Indian Subcontinent and other Asian countries. It is also used in many African and Latin American countries. Cumin too has high medicinal properties. It helps in digestion, insomnia, respiratory disorders, immunity, cancer and many more. (Info Courtesy: from Mummy’s web reference)
As I sign off with this easy salad, I just realised that the Beetroot art – the recycled wrapping paper project hasn’t yet taken place. It is this weekend’s project. Will probably share those images in the future. But for now, have a wonderful weekend!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
More images on my Beetroot journey. Enjoy seeing them but please don’t use them.
Mango Lentil Soup/Aam Dal – The Summer Combat
Daal Maharani Befitting the Queen (And Also Us)
Sikarni Raan/Marinated Lamb Shank from Yak & Yeti
Easter Egg Curry Cooked By Easter Bunnies!
Mashed Potato Bengali Style/ Aloo Bhaaté