Beetroot raita must be the prettiest of all raitas. It will add amazing color to any plate. That’s just an added bonus because beet raita also tastes delicious. Beet raita is a yogurt side dish made by mixing shredded beets and a vaghar (tempered spices) with yogurt. Like other raitas, it provides a cooling counterbalance to any spicy plate. It also works great as a dip to make a simple lunch out of roti or paratha.
Beets aren’t the most common ingredient in Indian food, but they are definitely a part of the cuisine. They add such a fantastic pop of color to any dish.
In India, I remember seeing them most often used in juice shops, where the juicewala would juice mixed them a drink with tangerines, oranges, and sugar cane or pineapple. Also, roadside sandwiches would sometimes have slices of crunchy beets mixed with cucumber and potato.
My mom cooked beets a lot for my grandpa because Ayurveda recommends beets. This squares with modern medicine because research has shown beets help reduce blood pressure, a problem often caused by diabetes.
You can eat beet raita with any dish that other raitas go with. It goes great with a plate of biryani, as part of a thali, or with any flatbread. It also goes well with just about any kind of rice. It even works as an accompaniment to a simple plate of plain basmati rice.
- 2 cups thick yogurt Greek style, or strained
- 2 cups shredded beets
- 1-2 green chillies to taste
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- ¼ tsp ground cumin toasted and ground
For the Vaghar (Tadka)
- 1 Tbsp ghee or neutral oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- pinch of hing asafoetida
- Mix the yogurt, shredded beets, chillies, salt and cumin
- Heat the oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle until fragrant. Add cilantro and hing. Let that cook for only a few seconds
- Add the vaghar to the raita. For a nice look, mix in only half, then pour the remaining on top of your raita when it is ready to serve.