This simple stir fried beetroot coconut in spiced yogurt is a slight twist on a traditional Kerala dish without compromising the authentic flavors. It is easy to make and a great accompaniment to rice, veggie bowls or grilled meats.
I am so excited about today’s post because I really want you guys to try this little part of Kerala cuisine and love it! In my sneak preview on Instagram, I mentioned about enjoying an entire Onam spread after years and my resolve to recreate some of the traditional Kerala dishes in my Canadian kitchen so I don’t have to wait till I go back home to India or seek out a really good Kerala restaurant. Ok some dishes are worth seeing out – such as dosas and appams because they are rather time consuming and a bit labor intensive to make at home. However, there are so many simple vegetarian and non-vegetarian stir-fry and gravies that I don’t attempt. When it comes to my own cuisine I kind of stick within my comfort zone and make the handful of curries over and over again. Time to change all that!
Starting with this stir fried beetroot coconut in spiced yogurt which is a sort of mash-up of two similar beetroot dishes – a traditional stir fry with coconut which is called a ‘thoran’ and a wet dip like preparation when a vegetable is finely chopped or grated, cooked and added to yogurt which is called ‘pacchadi’. So here I stir-fried the beetroot with coconut added it to a spiced yogurt base. You can eat the stir-fried beetroot on its own or make it with the yogurt. It is a delicious coconut-y accompaniment to bowls or with meats or my favorite – with just plain rice. Only the second South Indian inspired dish on this blog!
Last weekend I ate a complete Onam meal called a “sadhya” at a celebration organized by the Toronto Malayalee Samajam. After 10 years! At home, we celebrated every year. We wore traditional clothes, bought banana leaves, Mom and Dad cooked together for two days straight and our friends who we organized potluck Onam with, brought more dishes – an Onam meal is all about vegetarian variety. If the little colorful veggie blobs on your banana leaf are less than 10, something is not right! Or atleast I think so!
If by now, you are curious about what Onam is, you can read all about it here. Amongst Keralites, it is not a religious celebration – Hindus, Christians, Muslims anyone originally from Kerala, celebrates it as far as I know. One day, I would love to visit Kerala during this time to witness the celebration in all its glory especially the annual snake boat races which seem like so much fun to watch.
- This dish is slightly altered from the traditional method. For the classic preparation you can check out this and this
- It will keep in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days.
- If you don’t have cumin powder, you can use cumin seeds. It will grind with the mixture.
- Do not be intimidated by curry leaves. If you like cooking Indian food, seek them out at Indian grocery stores, buy a big bunch, wash, and then air-dry completely till they are crispy and store the leaves in an airtight container in the freezer. It will last a long time. Also read this for more in-depth details if interested. However, if you don’t cook Indian food at all, I will grudgingly agree for you to skip the curry leaves but know that you are missing out.
- Pre-cooking the beets is important to soften them a bit before stir frying. Similar to Chinese quick stir fry where often pre-cook the meat is required.
Stir Fried Beetroot Coconut in Spiced Yogurt
Ingredients – 2 – 4 servings
For the Spiced Yogurt
1tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 red chili – chopped (optional or depending on your spice tolerance)
pinch of salt
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ tsp toasted cumin or cumin powder
2 tbsp + 1/3 cup yogurt
For the Beetroot Stir Fry
½ cup packed peeled and diced beetroot
2-3 tbsp water
1tbsp coconut oil
¼ tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
2tbsp finely chopped red onion
pinch of salt
3tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
Spice the Yoghurt
- In a small non-stick frypan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil. When hot, reduce heat to medium, add the finely chopped onion, pinch of salt and red chilli if using. Fry till the onion is soft.
- Add the shredded coconut and cumin powder or seeds and fry constantly till golden. It can burn easily so do not stop watching or stirring. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Add it to the spice grinder with 2 tbsp yoghurt and grind to a smooth paste. Do not add water.
- Remove to a wide mouthed bowl, add the remaining 1/3 cup of yoghurt and mix well. Set aside.
Stir Fry the Beetroot
- Microwave the diced beets with 2-3tbsp water on high for 4 – 5 mins. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in the non-stick frypan till hot and shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add the curry leaves. You should instantly smell the aroma.
- Add the chopped onion and salt. Fry on medium heat till starting to turn golden.
- Add the coconut and stir constantly till golden.
- Finally add the microwaved beetroot and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Take off the heat and add to the bowl with the spiced yogurt.