1. Beautiful Bold Beetroot - Taking home the earthy veg, Pakistani-style

    For the close of  National Vegetarian Week, we end on a colourful note with the bold and beautiful beetroot.  New Great British Chefs guest blogger, Sumayya better known as the Pukka Paki,takes a look at this highly versatile vegetable and shares two of her own beetroot recipes - one savoury and one for dessert! Enjoy.

    Blog post & photography by Sumayya aka Pukka Paki 

    This is a bright purple delight with the scent of the earth in which it grows. It’s roots are firmly set in the Indian sub-continent from where it has travelled to the West. Its colour gives away much of it’s health benefits which includes helping manage heart disease, blood pressure and, in my culture, it is known to be a blood purifier which helps to boast a rosy complexion, which is reason enough to make this one of my favourite vegetables, that and the fact that I  use it to dye my old white shirts pink!! Rather versatile for a muddy vegetable which gets so ignored in the supermarket aisle!

    I was brought up on fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in my back yard in Pakistan.  In the West it’s a luxury to have an allotment in the city to grow your own vegetables whereas in Pakistan one takes for granted our  huge fruit and vegetable gardens.  I grew up pulling out my own carrots and beetroots amongst other vegetables, which leads me to feature beetroot  as one of my most vegetables, as my  National Vegetarian Week  special veg and I include two of my favourite recipes using fresh beetroot (not the boiled variety). What I love most about beetroot is that nothing is wasted - you can wash  them and eat them from the ground, green, roots - all! - quick tip: stir fry left over greens in some rapeseed oil, cumin and mustard seeds, garlic and add some coriander leaves in the end - delicious with chappati bread!



    Beetroot is popping up everywhere, in cakes, desserts, breads, rice, risotto - it goes to show this vegetable is finding it’s place on people’s plates and in their hearts, because once you give this modest silent brave bulb a go, there is no turning back to possibilities of recipes and ideas it conjures up!

    Here are two of my own beetroot recipes. A Beetroot and Jaggery raita, to compliment summer BBQ’s and gorgeous biryanis or even your lamb roast, try this cooling, sweet, tangy, earthy raita which can be eaten either as a condiment or a dip with veggies or crisps - And I include a stunningly vibrant sweet dish - A decadent and fragrant beetroot halva infused with cloves and cardamom - serve this at the end to a festive summer meal, eat it warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with masala chai…Beetroot isn’t boring, its bright, beautiful and so good for you! Give these two recipes a go! 



    Beetroot and Jaggery Raita - A sensory explosion

    Serves about 2-4 people as an accompaniment to another dish, it takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

    Ingredients:

    1-2 small fresh beetroots, peeled, washed and grated in a medium grater (do not boil the beetroot)
    1 tsp of dry roasted cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
    1-2 tbsp Jaggery
    1 fresh green chili, chopped
    1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
    2 tsp mint leaves, chopped
    3-4 cups full fat natural yoghurt, whipped

    Method:

    1. Mix the grated beetroots with the cumin, jaggery and salt, give it a good mix.

    2. Pour into a serving plate and decorate with a sprinkling of green chili, coriander and mint and serve with anything you like! 

    Beetroot halva infused with cloves and cardamom- Decadent and gorgeous

    Serves about 8-10 people, take about 45 minutes to and hour to prepare and cook.

    500 g beetroot, peeled and grated
    400 ml double cream
    100 ml fresh milk
    100 g caster sugar
    1 tsp ghee
    1 tsp cardamom seeds
    1 tsp cloves

    Method:

    1. Boil the milk and cream together, add the grated beetroot, cloves and cardamom seeds. Cook on low heat and keep stirring occasionally and keep an eye on the pan. Cook this until the milk/cream gets absorbed into the beetroot mixture (takes about 25-30 minutes on medium low heat). Now add the sugar and keep stirring until it is all mixed in well

    2. Once the halva is thick, deep red and all the cream/milk and sugar is absorbed, pour into a serving dish and either serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or serve cold with some delicious hot masala chai!

    Blog post & photography by Sumayya aka Pukka Paki 

    For more beetroot recipes check out Great British Chefs beetroot collection

    What’s your favourite way to serve beetroot?  In salads?  In cakes? Maybe some other way. We’d love to hear your tips for cooking beetroot over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.

Notes

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