Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Stewed Beets with Beet Greens and Ginger

©iStockPhoto/mdmiller

There are a few reasons I've chosen this recipe for Stewed Beets with Beet Greens and Ginger from Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries to kick off our week of curries.

First, this recipe is the first dish I tried at home, and it was a great success. Second, I am a die-hard fan of beets, but not in a million years have I ever thought of them in the context of Indian cuisine. As it turns out, their natural sweetness melds perfectly with the earthy flavors of mustard seeds and curry leaves and stands up to the heat of a few spicy chiles and a good amount of ginger. Third, this recipe doesn't call for too many hard-to-find ingredients. Mustard seeds can be found in most supermarkets, though fresh curry leaves might be a bit more difficult to come by. Try a market that specializes in South Asian or Indian products. Once you locate a purveyor of curry leaves, snatch up as many as you can; they'll keep in the freezer for a long time and will prove indispensable for future endeavors into Indian cooking.

The process of making this curry is typical of many of the vegetable curries in 660 Curries: Toast the spices in a small amount of oil until fragrant, stir-fry the vegetables briefly, add a few more flavoring elements and a bit of liquid, and simmer. It couldn't be more simple, but somehow the progression of steps is a bit different than most Western recipes.

One thing I really love about this recipe is that it's one of the few beet preparations I've seen that harmoniously uses all parts of the beet—the sweet bulb, the crunchy stems, and the pleasantly bitter, toothsome greens.

The finished dish is a perfect shade of deep magenta; pair it with some basmati rice and a bit of raita or yogurt and you're all set. Healthful, satisfying, intensely flavorful, and the presentation is a knockout.

Win '660 Curries'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 660 Curries to give away this week.

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