There’s not many things I know how to do with beetroot: there’s soup (borscht); and beetroot boiled, sliced and drizzled with salt, vinegar and olive oil. To that limited list I add my new favourite: Konkani style beetroot kosumbari.Tamilians who have always prepared the standard beetroot ‘poriyal’ or ‘thoran’ (mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal, dried red chilli, any vegetable and grated coconut) might be slightly alarmed by this Konkani style recipe with raw onion and green chilli. But keeping an open mind will be worth your while.
This is a Konkani version of the Tamilian standard poriyal – they call it kosumbari.
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp split urad dal (gives a nutty flavour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sunflower oil
large handful of grated coconut
1 onion finely chopped
1 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 tsp coconut oil.
Finely chop the beetroot – I put beetroot quarters in to a mixie and give it about 3-4 short sharp pulses. It’s a quick way to finely chop beetroot in to cubes. The finer you chop, the quicker it will taste.
Add 1/2 tsp sunflower oil to a kadai. When hot add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter and pop. Then add the dried red chilli allow it to darken, then add curry leaves and urad dal. When the urad dal browns, add the beetroot. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and sauté till the beetroot is cooked, you can put a lid on the kadai to steam the beetroot. The finer you chop the beetroot, the faster it will cook 5-8 minutes. Add the coconut, mix through and remove from the fire.
Chop 1 onion and 1 green chilli, finely. Add the raw onion and chilli to the cooked beetroot and coconut. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp of coconut oil.
The coconut oil is essential. Without it, the dish doesn’t have the lift that takes the humble poriyal to another level.
The same recipe can be done with beans or carrots – I’ve not tried it with cabbage. Despite eating beetroot the traditional Tamilian ‘poriyal’ style, I feel I can’t go back