Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 4, 2009: Beet cheera pachadi

When we were in London a few years ago Cindy and I enjoyed a fine vego Indian meal at Rasa, the highlight of which was a weird pink beetroot curry, Beet Cheera Pachadi. In the blog post, we promised to hunt down a recipe once we were back in Australia and, three years later, we've finally done it.

I whipped it up on Sunday for a byo curry lunch, and it clearly won the pinkest dish of the day. Colour aside, it's an interesting combination of flavours, with the earthy, sweet beetroot offset by the spices and the slight tang of the yoghurt. Looking back, it seems that Rasa blended their ingredients up into a smoother mush, while our recipe left little cubes of beetroot to enjoy - I think the textural variety was a plus.

It's a fair bit of work and your hands end up looking like you've been involved in a particularly gruesome crime, so it might be a while before I pull this recipe out again. But if you're looking for something a bit different to take along to a curry night, this is well worth a shot.

Beet Cheera Pachadi
(from Cooking Index)

4 medium beetroots
100g dessicated coconut
2 green chillies, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons vegie oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
250g fresh spinach leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
1 cup yoghurt
Salt and pepper

Trim and peel the beets, and cut into 1cm cubes. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the beet cubes, cooking for about 20 minutes, until tender.

In the meantime, put the coconut, chillies, ginger and 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds in a food processor and grind to a paste.

When the beetroot is cooked, drain and transfer to a bowl. Heat the oil in your saucepan and add the rest of the mustard seeds. Once they start popping, put the beetroot back in, along with the turmeric, chilli powder, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add in the paste from the food processor along with the spinach and cook until the spinach leaves have wilted. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir the yoghurt through and serve.

Note: the original recipe has fresh curry leaves in it - these would be a great addition, but we couldn't find any locally and were too lazy to cast our net more widely.


  1. not one to spill on your host's good table cloth :-) but looks delicious!

  2. I have a problem with beets. The stains!The colours look amazing and very easy to make. I may attempt to make this.

  3. yum! I made borscht last night! curry leaves are at the asian supermarket in barkley or asian supermarket at vic markets...

  4. Oh I do like beetroot with Indian flavours. I regularly make a beetroot and tomato curry, which turns out a deep, deep burgundy red colour. I love your idea as well, particularly with the yoghurt.

  5. You're right on both counts, Johanna. :-)

    Penny, they do like to leave their colour around! Michael did an impressive job of restricting the beetroot juice to his hands and a small corner of the kitchen.

    Thanks for the curry leaf tip, Carla! We have bought them before but couldn't remember where.

    Kathryn, I think I'd love a curry that combines tomato with beetroot!

  6. I followed your recipe and you're right- it's hard work! The dish is yummy, but not like I remember from Rasa. Maybe my yoghurt is different?