Thursday, February 21, 2013

Golden Beet Borani

Mixing Wok'd Beets with Dressing

Recipe adapted from India Joze

Several years back my husband took some cooking classes from Jozseph Schultz, a local culinary hero who was, I believe, the first to introduce chai and chocolate truffles to Santa Cruz. Using a propane wok burner for extra-super-high heat, he demonstrated a variety of dishes to students, who followed along on Joze’s printed recipe handouts. And then there were the extras—side dishes that Jozseph made spontaneously with ingredients on hand. Students scribbled these down as best they could, and this recipe derives from one such un-quantified scribble. Jozseph is known for using lots of spices in his recipes, but this dish is simpler, perfect for busy days.

Plate of Golden Beet Borani
Yogurt Takes on Golden Color from Beets
Borani is a Persian yogurt-vegetable combination commonly made with spinach. More rarely, beets are used. Typically this dish is pureed into a thick paste to eat as an appetizer dip with flat bread. This version is more of a side dish. It’s essentially small-cut golden beets with a yogurt dressing.

For best results, use a super-high heat in your wok. Scorching the beets adds smoky flavor and caramelizes the beet sugar, but be sure to toss the beets every minute or so (see video below). You don’t want to overdo the scorching part! To prevent smoking, use an oil that doesn’t break down in high heat, like sunflower or organic canola (remember that non-organic canola is genetically modified).

We added some fresh mint, which we happened to have on hand. You could add dill (fresh or dried), chives, or even black sesame seeds instead. If you don’t have thick yogurt on hand, drain regular yogurt in a strainer for ½ hour or so. Enjoy!

Basket of beets
It All Starts with Beets
Golden Beet Borani
serves 4 - 6

¾  lb. golden beets
1 tbsp. sunflower or other high heat oil
¾  cup Greek, Lebanese, or other thick yogurt
4 shakes (or more) salt
4 grinds black pepper
1 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh mint, or to taste
Mint leaves for garnish

Peel beets and chop into ½" or smaller pieces, as uniformly as possible. Chop mint, reserving a few sprigs for garnish.

Heat wok on high. When hot, add oil. Continue heating until oil shimmers.

Add beets to wok. Stir to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on high heat, tossing every minute or so, until beets are tender with some scorching on the outside.

Remove immediately to serving bowl. Stir in yogurt and chopped mint. Garnish with extra mint sprigs. 

Quick Demo of Stir-fry Technique

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