Punjabi-style Beets with Ginger (Punjabi Chukandar Ki Sabzi)

North Indians nearly always start beet dishes with the raw vegetable, and generally cut it quite small so the pieces can be picked up easily with morsels of local flatbreads or rice. Save the stems and leaves, if you have them, for another dish. Serve this sweet, sour, and hot dish with a dal of your choice and a green vegetable, such as Green Beans with Potatoes. In the Punjab the meal would be eaten with a flatbread, but rice is fine too. At an Indian or Western meal, you could serve this dish cold, as a salad. You could also swirl some of it into beaten yogurt to make a raita.
October 01, 2015


Put the oil in a medium, preferably nonstick frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the asafetida, quickly followed by the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add the fenugreek seeds and, a second later, put in all the beets plus the ginger, coriander and cumin. Stir for 2–3 minutes. Add the turmeric and chili powder and stir for a few seconds.

Stir in 1 cup water and . teaspoon of salt, then bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and cook gently for 20 minutes or until the beets are tender. Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered, stirring over a high heat, for another 2–3 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and well combined and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle in some more salt as needed.

Excerpted from VEGETARIAN INDIA by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2015 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 1 1/2 lb. beets (I used 2 large ones), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 10 oz), peeled and finely chopped
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