Another raita – although this time it is a south Indian dish, a pachadi. This dish is traditionally served at the Hindu festival of Onam.
Chefs know that you appreciate food with your eyes first, and then through its scent before it gets to your mouth. That is the reason I love this vibrant pink and aromatic dish.
Pachadi refers to a traditional South Indian side-dish similar to the north Indian raita. The main difference is the adding of the oil, tempered with spices before serving.
Beetroot was one of the major food groups according to my mother. Specifically, canned beetroot was one of these food groups. We had canned beetroot every time someone mentioned the word “salad”. Don’t misunderstand me; I love the stuff. But, beetroot prepared from first principles is something else. Further, raw beetroot, as this recipe uses, is even better. Beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid and fibre.
They are also an excellent source of food stains. You are advised to wear gloves while preparing this dish, otherwise you will get a set of fluorescent pink hands that will last about a week.
You might want to consider presentation for this dish. If you add all the yoghurt at once, you end up with a uniformly pink dish – which, given Indian food’s often brown appearance is not a bad thing. If you add only half the yoghurt, and reserve the rest to serve, you can create a wonderful looking dish.
This dish goes well with stuffed parathas, biryani, or pulao.
- Mix together beetroot, yoghurt, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, or until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add sesame seeds and curry leaves and keep on the heat until sesame seeds start to colour.
- Pour this tempered oil over the beetroot and yoghurt, stir once and serve.
- Do not add the tempered oil until ready to serve.