Beetroot has always been a staple in our diet- I’m not sure if it’s a Kerala thing or a family thing. But ever since I can remember, we’ve had beetroot 3 ways. Cubed or julienned beetroot stir-fried with coconut; and sliced beetroot sauteed in coconut oil with lots of black pepper. The third beetroot staple in our home was beetroot pachadi, a yogurt-beetroot salad tempered with mustard seeds.
Pachadis are common all across south India- they are vegetables tempered with yoghurt, coconut, ginger, chillies and curry leaves. The yogurt-based variety are mostly eaten in Kerala and Tamil Nadu as an accompaniment to rice and other stuff. Think of it as a tangier, spicier version of a tzatziki!
As with any other dish, you can improvise with pachadi. I didn’t add any grated coconut to mine, instead I used some finely chopped onions. Whatever you like.
There is no real rule to pachadi…you can make it runny or more dense, use home-made curd or store bought, use cucumber, tomatoes, beets, pineapples, any vegetable you like (though I’m yet to come across a pachadi made with potatoes…)
I like using beetroots because they bleed and mix with the yogurt and make such a pretty colour. It reminds me of my days as a kindergartner when I’d eat Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries just to watch the red cereal berries make the milk turn pink.(Please don’t read into this with any Freudian intentions, I was just a little girl who liked the colour pink.)
Anyway, this is my recipe for beetroot pachadi, with whatever I could lay my hands on. It’s tart, tangy and slightly sweet thanks to the beetroot!
- 1 medium sized beetroot; grated
- 1 small onion; chopped
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- A few curry leaves
- 1-2 tablespoons set yogurt (or more if you desire)
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of chilli powder
- Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.
- Next, add the chopped onions, grated beetroot and stir-fry. Add a few curry leaves so that their flavour is released into the oil. Add a pinch of chilli powder and salt to taste.
- Sautee till the onions are soft.
- Remove from heat, stir in the yogurt. Garnish with some curry leaves and you’re done.
I just love pink food!