Indian Beetroot Relish

I feel sad that children today are not able to savor our traditional beetroot relish as I did in my childhood. It was a delightful experience for the kids to relish the beautiful reddish-purple beetroot puree infused with delicious flavors of native fruits served in wedding feasts. Beetroot sweet pachadi, the most popular fruit dessert, was usually featured in every feast until few years ago. Nowadays vanilla ice cream with fruit salad takes precedence over this traditional fruit dessert.

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There is a Sanskrit phrase, “Athithi Devo Bhava”, meaning guests to be treated at par with God, and hence it has been customarily followed by Hindus for over 1500 years by offering food to deities as well as guests on the sacred banana leaf. We still follow this unique tradition mainly in South India during festivals and other special occasions.  Here I have tried to replicate the wedding feast featuring our traditional beetroot relish served to guests at my uncle’s wedding held when I was 5 years.

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Although it is a fun & enjoyable experience to use banana leaf as a platter, there are significant benefits of using this leaf listed below:

The benefits of taking food on banana leaf:

Convenience: Banana leaves are mainly beneficial to serve food for a large gathering as there is no need to buy, wash, use and stack the huge number of plates. Also we can use a long leaf to serve a large variety of foods prepared for sumptuous repasts.

south-indian-banana-leaf-meal.jpgEco-friendly: Cutting down these inedible banana leaves does not affect the yield of bananas, so they can be liberally used to pack/ serve food and also be disposed safely by using them as cattle feed. Hence banana leaves may be considered as the best alternatives for paper plates or plastic wraps.

banana leaf wrap

Anti-oxidant property: These leaves contain large amount of polyphenols, the natural antioxidants found in green tea. The warm food served on banana leaves absorbs those polyphenols and it is considered as one of the effective ways of ingestion of anti-oxidants. These not only help to fight free radicals but also to have anti-aging effects on our skin. Banana leaves extracts are commercially used for the production of anti-wrinkle products.

Anti-bacterial property: It is not required to use any detergent to clean these leaves, as they are naturally clean and germs free. We can just wipe these leaves with little water.

Stimulates appetite: When hot food is placed on banana leaf, the wax on the surface melts and lends beautiful aroma to the food which in turn stimulates one’s appetite.

Water proof: These leaves don’t get soggy unlike paper plates because of the natural waxy coating. But it is not convenient for taking liquid foods.

Now let us look into the recipe for traditional beetroot relish:

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Time taken: 10 min.

Ingredients:

  1. Beetroot – 1
  2. Ghee – ½ tsp
  3. Jaggery or any sweetener of your choice – as desired
  4. Cardamom – 2 Nos.

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Fruits:

  1. Mango
  2. Banana (I used poovan pazham, a small variety of banana)
  3. Apple
  4. Orange
  5. Green grapes

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Cooking Procedure:

  • Peel and grate beetroot using grater.
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix in ghee.
  • Microwave for 3-4 min. and allow it to cool down.
  • Blend into puree.
  • Heat a pan with jaggery & beetroot puree in low flame.
  • When jaggery begins to melt away, increase the flame to medium.
  • Stir for few min. until nicely coagulated.
  • Add cardamom powder, mix well, simmer for 1-2 min and remove from fire.
  • Store beetroot relish in a clean jar at room temperature.

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How to serve Indian Beetroot Relish:

Beetroot pachadi

First we need to heat a pan with beetroot relish and add fruit chunks into the pan. Then simmer for few min. allowing to get infused with fruit flavors.

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Beetroot Jam

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Beetroot Halwa

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102 Comments Add yours

  1. Chiru says:

    Eating in banana leaf is one the best habit followed by our ancestors.. sadly it’s disappearing…
    beetroot for bread I haven’t tried it… tat would be delicious..

  2. Lovely recipe nd well written about banana leaf

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much for reading my posts!

  3. Meenal Jhala says:

    This relish looks scrumptious. I’m sure it tastes good too. And it is so healthy! Fantastic for kids and adults alike.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it is! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  4. This seems sumptuous and very appealing to my sweet-tooth. I make beet pachadi but this one seems very new to me and very interesting too. You are right, as parents we must include our traditional food, that have a lot of benefits, in our children’s diet.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, when we serve something good to our children, it gives the sense of fulfillment and it turns out to be the driving force for all of us, isn’t it? 🙂
      Thank you.

      1. Absolutely, Megala. My mother too used to make these quick healthy fixes that we used to enjoy but the supermarket revolution and the availability of just about everything has put many such simple recipes to rest to be substituted with read-to-eat packaged food.

  5. Bhavana says:

    Healthy spread…full of nutrients. I would love to try this.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you.

  6. InspiresN says:

    wonderful share Megala, the beetroot relish looks simply awesome!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you.

  7. cindy knoke says:

    I just ate some today. I love it!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you, and thanks for stopping by.

  8. Nisha Sharma says:

    Wow, this is so simple and has beautiful colors from beet. Like that it’s uses so few ingredients, will try this😀

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks, Nisha. 🙂

  9. This looks so good! I often make fruit pachadi, but have never tried this out. Should do soon. 🙂 I have bookmarked your recipe to try out.

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, you would love it! 🙂 Thanks so much.

  10. dpranita583 says:

    Megala , i didn’t have any words to express your hard work. Fantastic.

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much! 🙂

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