Beet-iful Rice

beets and riceA few nights ago I got the amazingly inspired idea to use this burns-like-sweet-smokin’-sunburn jalapeno plum jam I can’t dream of finishing ever (it’s soooo good!) as part of a chicken marinade. Well, I wanted to use it for shrimp, but I had chicken so I tried it out. Melted the jam, added lemon juice, salt, some more red chili powder, garlic etc. Smelled amazing. Let it sit a few hours. Busted it out. Roasted a few samples in the oven and sautéed a couple as well (no learning without experimentation) and I discovered… It sucked. Completely.

So I tried to salvage this by making an asian-inspired curry blend of peppers and… it became passable. But I have since learned that the jam shall remain on the breads, crackers, and the like. Or possibly used for grilling one day. I don’t quite throw in the towel do I?

Thankfully this post is not about that. It was not a pleasure to make, and thus shall be shoved into the recycling bin of recipes. However, I was already in a less-than-chipper mood that day, because neither my sweet and sugary coconut sugar cookies nor a delightful batch of tomato-soup-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting won in a baking competition at work. Granted, I was unaware that half the points garnered came from DECORATING THE STATION. *Deep Breath* Not going to relive that stupidity, because honestly… no big deal. But your mood transfers into everything else you do, be it motivational speaking, darning a sweater, or cooking a meal.

Tonight I was in a much more inspired mood. Mostly I just wanted to overcome the previous cooking debacle and reign supreme once more… in my head. But we have a whole stash of beets in our fridge currently. Random yes, but the husband made this delicious beyond my wildest imagination sabzi (vegetable dish) of beets and carrots, South Indian style, so now I keep them stocked because he must make that for me at least once a week. And thus, seeing the carrots, thinking about the various ways to make the husband actually eat a variety of vegetables, and wanting to create my own dish, I concocted Beet-iful Rice! Or more plainly, Garlic Rice with Beets, Carrots, and Zucchini.


  • 1 ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 1 beet root, peeled and shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and shredded
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp red chili powder
  • Salt
  • Coriander leaves
  • 5-6 whole black peppercorns
  • ¾ tsp cumin/coriander spice blend
  • ½ lemon

Begin by prepping all the veggies. If you happen to buy a full beet root with the stalks and foliage, you can reserve the leaves to cook just like spinach (or so I’m told). I just had the roots themselves, so a quick (and messy) peel leaves them ready to stain everything in sight. 🙂

In a deep frying pan/dutch oven/etc, add a few tbsp of olive oil, lightly fry the onions and 2 tsp of the garlic, and add the rice in to brown. After a few minutes, toss in half of the shredded carrots and zucchini, the turmeric, chili powder, peppercorns, cumin/coriander powder, 1 generous tsp salt, the juice of ½ the lemon, and water (double the quantity of rice; in this case, 3 ½ cups). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, cooking until the rice is done (and water all gone!). I’ll be honest, rice is my nemesis, so this is always difficult for me to achieve… somehow I managed it well today.

Separately, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium-low, and lightly fry the beets and remaining carrot and zucchini. Add the rest of the garlic (or more if you like) and salt to taste and toss until everything has wilted, roughly 8-10 minutes. Add a handful or coriander leaves and fry in with the veggies.

When the rice is cooked, top off with the beet mixture and lightly mix. Taste the salt level, and add more as you like. The dish is not only tasty and light in flavor, but beautiful too, with its myriad of purples and oranges. A final garnish of more coriander leaves is the cherry on top for this recipe.

Glorious to behold, and perfectly matched with just yogurt, or as we did it tonight, an aloo bhaji styled dish (potatoes and assorted veggies).

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