It always amazes me how the humble vegetable can be transformed from the ordinary to extraordinary with simple ingredients and cooking with soul. This is one of my favourite side dishes with a curry.
It requires the addition of Maldive Fish Chips. You will still get a nice vegetable dish without them, but for a truly authentic Sri Lankan flavour, you’ll need to include them.
This beetroot dish is can be included in a dish called Lamprais. Lamprais is basically rice, meat and vegetables. Along with the beetroot (or other vegetables) it usually includes things like; eggplant bringal (pickle), fish cutlets (tuna or mackerel rissoles), seeni sambal (spicy onion relish) and a lamb, pork, fish or chicken curry. A boiled egg is also usually added and/or dahl.
Lamprais is little packet of Sri Lankan delights, a smorgesbord bundled into a banana leaf and steamed or baked to warm through. DELICIOUS.. but as you could imagine, with all those dishes – it is so much work for the cook to prepare.
Let’s start off with the beetroot ! Serve with rice and curry.
1 bunch of beetroot
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tblspn oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
½-1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp of Maldive fish chips
½ tsp salt
juice half a lemon
1. Wearing rubber gloves, peel the beetroot with a vegetable peeler to remove all the skin. Cut into matchsticks. Do this by slicing finely into rounds and then julienne.
2. Add the beetroot to a saucepan with 1 tsp of salt and the water. Bring the boil and cook on low for about 25mins until the beetroot is tender and all (or most) of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Remove beetroot from the saucepan and set aside. Discard any remaining liquid.
4. Fry onion with chilli flakes and Maldive fish chips stirring regularly for about 10mins until the onions softened and just about to caramelise. The amount of chilli will depend on how spicy you want to make it and how hot your chilli flakes are. However it is better to keep it on the mild side if you are serving with a spicy curry.
5. Add the beetroot into the onions along with ½ tsp salt and lemon juice. Cook gently for 15 mins, stirring regularly until the beetroot has softened. Turn off the heat and allow the beetroot to rest 10mins before serving.
This can be served is best served slightly warm, not hot. Freezes well.
Serves 4 as a side dish.