South Indian beet palya with grated coconut

I love beets in all shapes and sizes, so I was happy to come across a delicious-looking recipe for a beet stir-fry from South India on the wonderful blog ‘The ABCDs of Cooking’, which I am adapting here (slightly). This stir-fry is not only super healthy, it also has a suprising depth of flavor for something so simple – and on top of that, it takes just a few minutes to make, especially if you use (as I did) already pre-cooked beets.

Ingredients (for two portions):

Four medium-sized beets, pre-cooked or raw, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
Three tablespoons of red lentils
Cooking oil
A pinch of asafoetida
A pinch of mustard seeds
A pinch of cumin seeds
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
Half a teaspoon of sumac
A few curry leaves
A pinch of chili flakes (optional)
Salt to taste
A piece of fresh coconut
Fresh herbs and/or sprouts or some cucumber slices for garnish


Heat the oil in a pan and add the asafoetida and the mustard seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds start popping, then add the cumin and the lentils. Stir for a few seconds, then lower the heat and add the cubed beets, turmeric, sumac, curry leaves, and chili (if using). Add a little water and cover. Depending on whether you are using fresh or pre-cooked beets, the cooking time will be between ten and twenty minutes; the latter may require a little more water. When the beets are tender and the flavors well mixed, turn off the heat and season with salt. Grate the coconut and sprinkle some over the beets. Add herbs, sprouts or cucumber as a garnish when serving. Enjoy!

  1. What a wonderful use of beets! Thanks so much for dropping by my blog so happy it allowed me to discover yours :-)

  2. This sounds very refreshing. Lately I’ve craved beets…

  3. luckystaranise

    … then I can really recommend this recipe :) Thanks for your comment!

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