"Love Your Heart" Red Curry
Source: Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, Cooking Together
Recipe Type: Entrees | Seasons: Winter
I like beet curry because most curries are yellow, brown, or green, but this is a uniquely bright red curry! The recipe is my modified version of a traditional South Indian curry. The curry uses seasonal and local ingredients.
Red is the color for February. It symbolizes heart, love, and friendship, so we give flowers and candies to our loved ones. But the American Heart Association has a different theme. The AHA calls February American Heart Month to remind us that heart diseases are one of the major causes of premature deaths in the USA. They point out that many factors contribute to our heart health; such as the family history of heart illnesses and the diet. They add that while genetic factors are out of our control, but we can make food choices for our heart health. They recommend us to include fresh vegetables in our daily menu. So, let’s celebrate February by having healthy meals!
The main ingredients going into this curry—beets, potatoes, and carrots—are packed with nutrients that can help us with regulating our blood flow, maintaining an ideal blood pressure, and lowering the bad cholesterol level. Other ingredients going into this curry, the coconut milk and coconut oil, are considered healthy cooking mediums.
1 small bunch of beets (or 3 small to medium size beets, equaling about 2 to 2½ cups chunks)
1 cup chopped beet leaves or spinach (stems removed)
1 large or 2 small potatoes (about 1 to 1½ cups when cubed)
1 carrot, cleaned and cut into rounds (approximately 1 cup)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 small red onion, chopped finely
½ red bell pepper, cut into small pieces after removing seeds
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground cardamom, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper (or less for a milder curry)
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup beet broth reserved from boiling beet roots
1 cup coconut milk (canned or fresh)
Juice of ½ lime or lemon
A few tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
Rice, to serve
First, peel the beets and potatoes and cut them into chunks. Boil 3 to 4 quarts of water in a large pot and cook the beets for 45 minutes. Then, remove a cup of beet broth from the pot and set aside. (Later the broth will be mixed with coconut milk to make the sauce.) Add the potatoes to the pot and boil them with the beets for 15 minutes. Add the carrots and boil all the roots together for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid and set the boiled roots aside.
Next, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, pepper, ginger, and garlic until the onion starts to wilt. Then add the boiled roots and beet greens (or spinach) and stir-fry them for a few minutes. Add the powdered spices and salt and stir fry for 5 minutes. Then, combine the beet broth with the coconut milk and pour over the cooking vegetables. Cover the pot and simmer the curry on moderate heat for 15 minutes. Then check for doneness by pressing a piece of beet between your fingers; if it is soft, then the curry is done. Adjust spices and sprinkle some of the lime juice.
To serve the curry, place a cup of rice in a large serving bowl and make a well in the center. Place the curry in the middle and sprinkle rest of the lime or lemon juice all over. Garnish with cilantro leaves on top.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Together: A Vegetarian Co-op Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff. Shanta is a resident of the Sunset District of San Francisco. Shanta is a co-founder of Other Avenues Food Cooperative, where she worked for over three decades. Currently retired from that job, Shanta writes recipes and articles on food and nutrition. Shanta is the author of two cookbooks: Cooking Together and Flavors of India, and a food co-op history book, Other Avenues Are Possible: Legacy of the Peoples Food System of the San Francisco Bay Area. Shanta’s cookbooks are available in San Francisco at Other Avenues Food Cooperative, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, Green Apple Books, Folio Books, Ominvore Books, Book Passage, and in Sausalito at Driver’s Market. You can also order her books through books.google.com, greenapplebooks.com, or instacart.com/rainbow-grocery. Currently, Shanta is creating cooking demonstration videos from her backyard to share them with the public via YouTube.