It is really challenging to prepare piquant poriyal using mildly sweet & earthy flavored deep red beetroots. I tried various preparations with different ingredients to satisfy my palate; eventually I found that adding garlic, coconut & pepper not only helps to spice up this poriyal but also to add a burst of flavor. I have also added nicely fluffed up lentils along with steamed beet chunks for the soft and crunchy texture.
I like to take beetroot poriyal as a mid-morning salad and it tastes best with rice and sambar/ rasam usually taken by south Indians for lunch.
Health Benefits :
Although beetroot has innumerable health benefits, it is particularly beneficial to pregnant women for its rich sources of iron & folate. I have compared below the nutrients of beetroot with dates being one of the rich sources of iron & broccoli as a good source of folate:
Now the recipe for beetroot poriyal:
Total time taken: 30 min.
Yields: 1½ cups (300 ml)
- Beetroot – 2 Nos.
- Greengram (paasi paruppu) – 1/8 cup
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
- Garlic pods – 15 Nos.
- Coconut pieces – 5 Nos. (each 1″)
- Peppercorns – ½ tsp
Mise en place:
- Cook lentils uncovered until soft and firm but not mushy for about 10 min.
- Crush garlic pods using pestle and keep aside.
- Grind coconut & pepper coarsely without adding water.
- Wash beetroots, peel their skins and dice them as shown below.
- Heat a pressure cooker with coconut oil in medium flame.
- Add mustard seeds into the cooker.
- When they begin to crackle, add crushed garlic and saute for few seconds.
- Add diced beetroot, salt & water (1 tbsp) and then close the pressure cooker.
- Now reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 min.
- Add about one-half of cooked lentils & coconut-pepper mixture immediately after the pressure is released.
- Mix together and close the cooker for 2-3 minutes to prevent the heat escape. (No need to turn on the heat.)
- Garnish with remaining lentils & grated coconut before serving.
Tips & Tweaks:
- You can pressure cook lentils along with beetroot as shown below, but I cooked them separately to prevent them turn reddish.
- Since crushed garlic is more flavorful I did not use finely chopped garlic in here.
- You may use red chillies along with garlic and garnish with coconut (without pepper) as below:
- I prefer to use coconut oil & coconut meat as the beetroot & coconut pair always works wonder.
- You can adapt the same recipe with no lentils for making avarakkai (broad beans), vaazhakai (raw banana), or chenai kizhangu (elephant’s foot yam) poriyal.