This palya is really like a warm salad that can fit rather well as a side dish on numerous menus. Alternatively, topped with a little Greek yoghurt, this recipe makes for a healthy delicious snack or salad. It is a favourite at Baale Mane, with the earthy and sweet beetroot providing a delicious balance to the heat from the chilli.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
- 3-4 fresh beetroots (for a quicker cooking time, use pre-cooked beetroot)
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp toor dal (split pigeon lentil)
- ½ tsp urad dal (dehusked and split black gram lentils)
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 3 red onions, chopped
- 4 dried red chillies
- A handful of coconut flakes (fresh or dried)
- ¼ cup peanuts
- Coriander, for garnish
Replace the beets with radishes or parsnips and the recipe still works well.
If using fresh beetroot, scrub and peel the beetroots, and cut into small cubes (about 5mm x 5mm). If using pre-cooked beetroot, drain and dice into small cubes as above.
Gently heat the oil in a pan, and once it is hot add the mustard seeds. When they start sputtering add the lentils, curry leaves and the onion.
Break the dried red chillies into small pieces over the sink so the seeds fall out. Add the de-seeded chilli to the pan and sauté till the onions caramelize.
Add the beetroot, salt and cover with water. Stir and simmer till the water is all absorbed, and the beets are soft but not mushy. If you are using cooked beetroot, dice, and add to the pan without water and cook until hot.
Add the coconut flakes, take off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, dry roast the peanuts in a wide pan, stirring often. Once they start browning take off the heat, and crush them lightly in a mortar & pestle or a quick coarse pulse in the blender.
Mix the peanuts with the beetroot and garnish with coriander.
Serve warm with rice, sambhar and yoghurt.