Root vegetables with a soothing,earthy taste are one of my favorite. I m not talking potatoes here - everybody likes them without a doubt. I want to point towardsÂ taro, sweet potatoes, turnips,Â radishes & ofcourse - beets. The array of colors and textures inspire me to try out different ways to enjoy them.When beets are involved, I normally start dreaming of all kinds of pink hued curries, especially my dad's version.It takes me back to all those special meals he cooked.
I did not enjoy beets much in salads or slaws much,Â I have grown to enjoy them in many other ways. Being the only one at house who likes them, I have the freedom to mend & devise my own uncomplicated ways to cook them. After gulping down lots of juice glasses over the week (yup, at this age too, I dream of rosy cheeks (sigh)),I was left with a last batch of this pink bounty to be turned into theseÂ thin, crispy, pan-fried cutlets.
There is always a feeling of accomplishment & satisfaction when I am able to come up with ways to prepare vegetables without cooking them much.I dont think I can describe it.It just needs to be felt.The beets were overly sweet, I did not roast them.Finding a way to balance out the sweetness was when spices jumped into the picture. Inspired by the ever so popular potato tikkis - tangy chaat masala , green chillies, ginger, garlic & cilantro - I found myself Â shaping these babies within few minutes. To start with, I was slightly nervous about the taste but after I tasted the mix, the excitement took over- for that first bite.
Tikki,Â a popular north indian snack is nothing but small patties or croquettes, deep or shallow fried. They are served with an assortment of chutneys, ketchup, yogurt or just as it is with hot steaming masala chai or coffee. .
These are vaguely sweetish, utterly moist to bite with semolina coating adding a texture.The intent was to keep the beet taste as unadulterated as possible. Serve these with green chutney as appetizers, over lettuce leaves to make a yummy salad or even slide them inside the buns to make a vegetarian burgers Overall, I think I will be making these a lot many times.
For The Tikki
- 2 beetroot roasted
- 1 cup boiled potato grated
- ¼ cup red onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ inch ginger minced
- 3 indian green chillies (hot) finely chopped (adjust to taste)
- ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala
- ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds toasted
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Oil as needed for cooking
- ⅓ cup fine semolina
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne
- Peel the roasted beetroot. Using fine side of the grate, grate in a large bowl.
- Add the ingredients listed under " tikki" except oil.
- Lightly mix using a wooden spoon to combine everything. Dont overwork the mixture. Dont add the salt unless ready to cook. Refrigerate the mixture until then.
- In a shallow dish, mix the ingredients of the coating.
- When ready to cook, heat up a heavy cast iron skillet/pan on medium. You dont want the pan to be searing hot. While the pan heats up, combine the salt with the beetroot mix.
- Make small patties of the mix, about 2 inch dia & ½ inch thick. Coat the patties in the semolina mix to cover both sides.
- Spread 1 tablespoon oil on the heated pan. Place 2-3 patties and fry them on medium-low heat,adding 1 teaspoon oil or as needed during frying.
- Cook the patties for about 3-4 minutes on each side, flipping gently with a spatula & flattening them with it slightly as they cook and turn brownish.
- Repeat till all patties are fried. Serve warm with green chutney.