Deep pink in colour and retaining that unique beetroot flavour, this curry makes a stunning addition to a selection of curries. There is an urban myth that beetroot leaves are poisonous; well I have been making beetroot curry for years and I always incorporate the stems and leaves.
- 350 g small beetroot, peeled, trimmed, stems reserved if desired
- 50 g ghee
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 long green chillies, finely chopped
- 3 cm piece pandanus leaf (see Note)
- 1 sprig curry leaves (see Note), leaves picked
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 200 ml coconut milk
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cut the beetroots and stems if using into 1 cm pieces.
Heat ghee in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and cook onion and green chilli for 6–8 minutes or until translucent. Add pandanus leaf, curry leaves and garlic, and cook for another 3 minutes or until fragrant.
Add beetroot and remaining ingredients, cover and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally for 15–20 minutes or until the beetroot is tender. Season to taste and serve as part of a Sri Lankan banquet (see page 46).
• Pandanus leaves are available from select Asian food shops.
• Curry leaves are available from select greengrocers and Asian food shops.
Photography Armelle Habib