Beetroot Raita and Chilli Oil
Beetroots (beets) were not common in the food I ate growing up. You don't hear a lot of Malaysian or Chinese dishes featuring the earthy, wet, red vegetable. But the times I did eat beetroots, they were usually out of a tin and sliced super thin or grated to add to salad sandwiches or put on burgers (yep, that’s a thing we do here in Australia—beetroot, eggs and pineapple rings all appear on our burgers). One of the most memorable times I did enjoy beet-root in Asian cuisine was at a more upscale restaurant serving a very contemporary take on Southern Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. The beetroot came roasted in a mixture of whole cumin seeds, mustard seeds and drizzled with yoghurt. It was a delicious mix of earthy sweetness and creamy tanginess and that's exactly what this recipe captures. The drizzle of Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chilli Oil on top of this dip is absolutely necessary. It is an added texture and kick of spice that lifts the flavours.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
- 2 beetroots (total weight 320 g [about 11 oz]), washed thoroughly and patted dry, skin on
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 4 AUS tbsp or 80 ml or ⅓ US cup neutral oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 AUS cups or 500 ml or 2 US cups + 2 US tbsp plain yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 to 4 AUS tbsp or 60 to 80 ml or ¼ to ⅓ US cup Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chilli Oil
- Toasted Pita Chips
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a large, rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Chop the beetroots into 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces then mix them in a medium-sized bowl with ½ teaspoon of the salt and 1 AUS tablespoon (20 ml or 4 teaspoons) of the oil. Transfer the seasoned beetroot pieces to the tray and roast them in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, tossing the beetroot pieces halfway through this time. The beetroots should be roasted until fork-tender.
Transfer the hot beetroot pieces to a food processor and blitz for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they form a coarse purée. Set aside.
In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 3 AUS tablespoons (60 ml or ¼ US cup) of neutral oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat, keeping the cumin and mustard seeds in the pan, and allow to cool.
Mix together the cumin and mustard seeds in oil with the yoghurt, remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, sugar and beetroot until fully incorporated. Transfer the raita to a serving dish. Garnish with drizzles of Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chilli Oil. Serve with toasted pita chips.
Beetroots can be peeled or unpeeled. The skin doesn’t change the flavour or texture once cooked. I prefer peeled, as I like to use beetroot skins in other applications.
Beetroot can be replaced with pumpkin or other squash or root vegetables.
You can grate the beetroot instead of using a food processor.
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