A fun blend of flavors creates a refreshing salad with warm spices and a crunch of slivered almonds to top it all off.
By Shuchi Mittal
“The fault was mine, I’d held it wrong
Made an incision, while humming that song,
And it bled and bled, all over the counter it bled
Luscious, sweet, a river of red,
There was no turning back, the damage had been done
It was now in two, once a wholesome one,
I sighed, someone had to pay for this pain
So I tossed it all up, and created a salad insane!”
- 2 large beets
- 2 tablespoons grape chutney (see below for recipe)
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon rock salt (or to taste)
- Fistful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- For the chutney (adapted from maduja.com)
- 1 cup green grapes, halved
- 1 cup black grapes, halved
- 1 dried red chili
- 1 teaspoon panch phoron (indian spice mix of whole nigella, cumin, mustard, fennel & fenugreek seeds)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- Juice from ½ lemon
- Zest from ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- Wash the beets. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt & cumin powder. Wrap in foil and bake at 425 F for 45-50 minutes. (You could just microwave / boil them but roasting is oh so swell!).
- Let them rest wrapped till they come to room temperature. Peel, dice into cubes & keep aside. They’re pretty tasty as is, but wait till the dressing is ready!
- Heat a non-stick pan. Add the oil and chili. Saute till the chili begins to sizzle slightly. Stir in the panch phoron mix and ginger and cook for a quick minute on medium heat, ensuring the spices don’t burn. They will become fragrant and you’ll know when they’re roasted.
- Now add the grapes, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, paprika and salt. Raise the flame to medium-high and bring to a boil. Let it cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, till the grapes are tender & the liquid begins to thicken. Crush some of the grapes with a back of a spatula and mix well. The more sugar you add, the thicker the consistency. However, grapes are already pretty sweet so I keep the sweetener on the low side.
- Cook till the chutney reaches a coating consistency, so it can stick to the beets. Remove from heat & cool to room temperature (it will thicken further once it cools).
Shuchi cooks with the heart of a poet. Banker turned chef, she runs the 29. Private Kitchen in NYC focusing on social tasting events, dining experiences and small-scale private events. Using simple & wholesome ingredients, she likes to re-invent homemade Indian flavors into modern tapas & small plates. Her dream? To cook, feed, write, and eventually open her own communal dining cafe - with a published recipe book on the stands.