During the rare occasions when we've had to eat out during our travels to our hometown, I've come across this particular combination quite a few times: that of beetroot and black-eyed beans cooked together in a simple curry. I don't know if this has some sort of traditional significance or is just a tried and tested recipe and cheap to make.
But no matter, it is a pretty good combination, taste-wise as well as nutritionally. Beans are great protein powerhouses and beets are carbohydrate rich; they seem to compliment each other quite well. Like I mentioned in a previous post, adding beetroot to other low-glycemic ingredients helps slow the release of sugar, though beetroot actually has a really low glycemic load per serving. So I've begun using it in my cooking.
Of course, there's no way I can have the exact recipe, but I simply made my version of it. It went this way:
I already had some cooked black-eyed beans, excesses from a previous recipe, which I had stored in the refrigerator. I peeled and cut up one medium-sized beetroot into bite-sized chunks and set it to boil in about a glass of water, till it was cooked tender.
Meanwhile, I roughly chopped up an onion and tomato and quickly fried them in a bit of oil. Letting this cool, I then ground them with a handful of coriander leaves to make a paste.
Once the beetroot was cooked, I added the cooked beans,requisite salt and chilli powder. I then poured in the tomato-onion paste and allowed all this to simmer together for several minutes.
In my seasoning pan, I heated a spoon of oil. To this I added half a teaspoon of nigella seeds/ karonji/onion seeds. The seeds are very innocuous looking and have no distinct smell by themselves. It is only when lightly roasted with or without oil that it releases a lovely delicate aroma. It really goes great with flatbreads such as naans. It is also used alongside with bland vegetables such as eggplant. I used it here for some variation to the usual fare. I kept the roasted seeds aside.
In the same pan, I heated half a teaspoon of oil and fried a bit of grated ginger and chopped garlic. I added all this, including the nigella seeds, to the simmering curry. Once the curry had thickened, I set it down.
It's a really simple curry, with not much spice. The beans and beetroot lend their own strong flavors, so there's no need to tamper with them much. We had this with chapattis.