You cannot exactly call it an authentic Bengali dish, but as long as it looks palatable and tastes good, who cares! I never ate beetroot in my entire maidenhood except as a part of the filling in the Bengali “Bhejitabil Chop” that roadside stalls were, in that part of the world, famous for. That’s because my mom never cared for beetroots. In fact she didn’t consider it Bengali at all! According to her carrots, beetroots and French beans were all colonial vegetables that represented the British rule over India. I think she boycotted the vegetables as an expression of solidarity to the cause of Bharat Chhodo Andolan. Or maybe she didn’t like their taste…I don’t know, I never asked. But I think children’s food habits are much influenced by their mothers. So I made it a point not to repeat my mom’s mistake and started cooking each and every item stocked in the Green grocer’s section. Since many of the vegetables were unknown, I often had to take help of friends and colleagues to figure out how the unfamiliar ones can be consumed. Help came from all sources. One such source was my domestic help Laxmi, who hails from Andhra Pradesh. It is she who told me how they cook beetroot in her mother’s village. I tried and marveled. It’s ridiculously simple, and tastes great ! There was no stopping since then. Beetroot features in my menu-card atleast twice a month – sometimes more. Even my S, whose standard response for any non-junk item is “Chheeeeee”, eats it without much fuss. Here goes the recipe for grated Beetroot. Hope you like it !
Yummy grated Beetroot
Beetroot : 2-3 beetroots are enough for 2 people
Chana dal: handful
Urad dal: handful
Peanuts: handful (roasted and coarse ground)
Garlic: 5-6 cloves
Oil: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
1. Heat oil
2. Add the urad and the chana dal
3. When they start turning brown, add the grated beetroot, stir and cover.
4. After about 5 mins, add the ground peanuts, salt, stir and cover again.
5. After 5 mins, squeeze in about 1 tsp of lemon juice, stir and put off the flame.