Munching on fresh, beautiful, red-colored beets is one of my childhood memories but I am not sure how I was so fond of eating small pieces of fresh beet that was grown in my grandparent’s home garden.
I was brought up in a hilly place and I still remember when we used to travel to the plains where my grandparents lived during the winter holidays. All kinds of colorful veggies were in season and available in the markets as well as in home gardens.
I used to follow my grandfather everywhere and helped him to pick fresh veggies from his carefully tended garden. I even got up extra early to see my grandpa milk the cow in the morning before she was let go for grazing on the field. The little calf that always followed the mother looked so adorable. Every evening I waited until the cow came back home, with her calf still following her. Still today I wonder how they came back to the right house every night.
When I reached my teens, I was no longer fond of eating fresh beet anymore. Just lately, I started to eat them again because they are so healthy but I always think twice before buying them in the market. I usually try different recipes to which I can add these beets without having to taste it (Yes, I know, sounds like trying to feed hidden veggies to a child!).
In my family, we like only one recipe made with beets and that is beet raita – a yogurt sauce. The raita looks gorgeous with a light pink color from the mixing of red beet and white yogurt. We usually make it a little sweet by adding sugar to complement the natural sweetness of the beet. Addition of roasted cumin seed powder and lemon zest to flavor it makes it more inviting. The beet raita goes very well with any savory snack, biryani, or rice pilaf.
This recipe was a result of the need to use leftover grated beet. After making beet raita, I thought about how to use the remaining grated beet instead of saving it in the refrigerator.
I had some boiled potatoes in the fridge, which I usually keep as a last minute savior ingredient. Boiled, mashed potatoes are very useful to add to anything to make a quick snack or a side dish to accompany any meal of the day. So, I added my leftover grated beets to some mashed potatoes and some spices that I had in my pantry and my quick, yummy snack was ready in no time. I was very happy with the result and was delighted to have everyone raving about them.
In our case the beet burgers were an afternoon snack, dipped in some beet raita. But you can use them on a bun and serve with your choice of other burger fixings.
½ cup beet, grated
1 large potato, boiled and mashed
¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
½ tsp chili powder (optional)
½ tsp garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped or ½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp ginger, minced or ½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp Curry’s Garam Masala (optional)
Salt to taste
¼ tsp black pepper powder
½ tsp granulated sugar (optional)
1 tbsp corn flour
1½ tbsp water
1. Mix all the ingredients except the cornflour and water and make 3-4 small portions.
2. Shape these portions into smooth patty.
3. Cover them with a cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
4. Make a paste with corn flour and water and keep aside.
5. Take the breadcrumbs on a plate and keep ready.
6. Take the patty and first dip it in the corn flour paste and then dredge in the breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs well on all the sides of the patty.
7. Shallow fry the patties until all the sides are nicely brown.
8. Serve as a snack with beet raita (recipe follows) or as a burger with all the other fixings of your choice.
¼ cup thick plain yogurt, beaten
1 tbsp beet, finely grated
½ tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp roasted cumin seed powder
1 tsp lime juice
1. Mix all the ingredients and chill until serving time.
Dr. Gayatri Borthakur, a nutritionist turned entrepreneur, has a PhD in nutrition and a passion for delicious but healthy foods.