” Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.” Wolfgang Puck
… and it also release your stress much like painting and writing to sail through the emotional upheaval that at times simply numbed your senses.
It was the time to follow the simple logic in life, leave it and move ahead, but a very difficult one to follow. But then tomorrow is a brand new day, another reason to start afresh and another reason to celebrate life.
And that begins with good food that will uplifts your mood though temporarily. Now there are scientifically researched food that can actually make you happy, may be at hormonal levels but what we were looking for was a nice and cozy place to sit and relax and off course to enjoy a sumptuous spread of authentic cuisines from the regions that we were not so familiar with it. Trying out new things always helps to keep your interest back in life, be it food or a new hair cut. And thus we zeroed upon an upscale never-tried-before-restaurant who were known for their culinary expertise in Southern Indian cuisine specially the cuisine from the coastal country of Kerala. The food was extremely good, being a sea food lover I had relished their traditional fish curries as much as their ultra soft and fluffy appams. But what stayed with me was this beetroot sauce.
Beetroot sauce was served with banana blossoms cutlet and my whole attention was focussed on analysing its taste profile. Earlier if I had liked something in the restaurant I had shamelessly asked for the recipe, some had revealed the secret to me and at other times they had dashed my hopes with just a polite smile. I do not know if it is good etiquette or a bad one but I always liked to take chances. This time I had decided to analyse it all by myself (may be because I was unhappy and uncomfortable with their cold hospitality), and believe me it was so much fun decoding the taste profiles. I may be wrong or I may have missed some key ingredient, but after a week when I had tried it at home, it was almost a close replica. DH approved it and I trust his taste -o – meter. 🙂 And in the process I had learned and discovered something very new.
So, while the beetroot was still in season I had prepared the sauce with roasted spices and a generous help of sweet and sour tamarind to balance the sweetness of the beets. You can roast the beets too before grating it to enhance its earthy flavour and once you puree it, you can strain it to get the even consistency. I Had tried both the versions and found that it is easy to store the strained version, devoid of any fibers. Under refrigeration this sauce will stay good for two weeks or may be more. Mine was finished before that.
- Beetroots : 2-3 medium
- Garlic cloves : 3-4
- Ginger minced : 1 tsp
- Fennel seed : 1 tsp
- Cumin seed : 1 tsp
- Coriander seed : ½ tsp
- Black pepper corns: ½ tsp
- Dried red chillies (deseeded) : 2-3
- Black salt or sea salt as per taste
- Tamarind pulp : 1 tbsp
- Vinegar white : 1 tbsp +
- Wash, peel and grate the beetroots.
- Dry roast each of the spices listed above including chillies separately and then grind them together in a spice grinder to a fine powder.
- In a blender add the beetroots, ginger, garlic and blend it to a fine paste.
- Heat the sauce in the pan, add the spice powders, tamarind pulp, salt and vinegar.
- Let the sauce thicken a bit. This will take some time.
- Once it is thicken enough, check for the seasonings.
- Sauce will have sweet, spicy and sour taste. Adjust the seasonings as per your taste.
- Cool it and if you are using it right away, then store it in a bottle.
Before this spicy and tangy beetroot sauce found a permanent slot in my pantry counter, I had used beets mostly to make the patties, sometimes just to add some color to my regular humus or in salad. Somehow the idea of curried beets with potatoes had never appealed to me or may be I would need a good recipe to show some likeness to this simple and bland curry, but as of now this beetroot sauce is my hot favorite sauce. Serve it with cutlets or patties or even with plain old samosa, it will add a nice punch to the food. It is time to think beyond the ketchup , shriracha and mustards.