Friday 24 August 2012

"Poopattum Aarpuviliyumaayi Onam Varavaayi" - Beetroot Pachadi

Continuing with my Onasadya special series, I have yet another delectable treat for you.

Ever since I got pregnant, loads of people have been telling me to eat beetroot regularly because of all it's natural goodness and nutrition. As you all already know, I love any veggie in any form. But the beets; they trumped me! I have detested beets (I know that's a very strong word to use, bud sadly is true) since I was a wee little one. I don't like their colour (they look like they are bleeding!) or their taste, which to me is just isn't there. But last week, I tried my hand at Beetroot Pachadi and here came the evidence of transformation. I was amazed at how good these roots were that heretofore I could not palate suddenly became something I could nosh on!

Today's recipe is the Beetroot Pachadi. Pachadi, refers to a traditional South Indian side-dish. Broadly translated, it refers to food which has been pounded. The definition of the word pachadi is different among different South Indian regions. But in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, pachadi is eaten fresh and typically made of finely chopped boiled veggies cooked with coconut, green or red chillies and tempered in oil with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Curd/yogurt based pachadi can be made of any vegetable, although beetroot, cucumbers, squash, mango, bitter gourd or pineapple are common. Pachadi is commonly eaten with rice and a lentil curry.

So, inspired by the Onasadya, I made this lovely Beetroot Pachadi. Beets being naturally steeped in sugar just bloomed in the cooking process. They were sweet and crunchy and they turn from blood red to a beautiful and magical pink colour when mixed with the yoghurt and coconut, which is so much more welcoming. Fresh beets clubbed with freshly grated coconut is just perfect and not in the least overpowering! A delicious accompaniment to go with your yummy Sadya.

Here is the recipe.


Beetroot (peeled & grated/chopped finely) - 1 (medium) (refer notes)
Green chillies (finely chopped) - 2
Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste

For Grinding

Coconut (grated) - 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp

For Seasoning

Coconut oil - 1 to 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dry Red chilli - 1 to 2
Curry leaves - 1 sprig


Heat oil in a pan and add the grated/chopped beetroot, green chillies, adequate salt and a little water. (just enough to cook the beetroot) Cook until done. (cover and cook for a minute or two and then cook on an open flame) Keep aside. (do not throw away the excess water if any)

Grind the coconut along with cumin seeds to a fine paste adding a touch of water, if necessary, in a mixer. Once this paste is ground as desired, add the mustard seeds and give it a twist or two till it blends in. (you can either run the mixer while doing this or simply crush the mustard seeds using a mortar and pestle) Add this ground mixture to the cooked beetroot and place it back on the flame. Cook the beetroot-coconut mixture for a few minutes till raw smell disappears. Switch off flame and leave aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled enough, add the yoghurt and mix till combined well. Check for salt and adjust if necessary.

Preparation of Seasoning

Heat coconut oil in pan and splutter mustard seeds. Throw in the dry red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds. (be careful not to burn any of the ingredients) Switch off flame and pour this seasoning over the prepared beetroot pachadi. Mix well and serve warm or at room temperature.


1. You can grate or chop up the beets in the food processor. I followed this method because it makes it so simple.

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