Coconut Mustard Beets ~ Beet Sabji

July 31, 2014
I absolutely love beets.  I find their flavor magical and the beautiful hues only makes them even more special.  They are earthy and have a deep mineral-y flavor but the amazing candy-like sweetness creates a tantalizing flavor combination.  I’ve met many people who do not share this profound love of beets, but I do not think this is the fault of the beet!  Rather, I believe that those who do not love beets feel so because they have been subjected to beets in their worst form: canned or boiled beyond recognition.  The high sugar content in beets just screams out for deep roasting or cooking quickly over high heat.  This recipe takes advantage of the latter.

Papa Hathi often makes this recipe at home with red beets.  This recipe is inspired by South Indian flavors, and thus we eat it with rice.  The deep crimson of the red beets against the bright white of the rice speckled with tiny black mustard seeds is stunning.  Just to switch things up a bit I made this dish with golden beets.  For those who don’t love beets, I think golden beets are the perfect gateway to full blown beet love.  They have all the sweetness of the red, but with a little less of the deep mineral earthy flavor.

This dish uses a vagar, or tempering of spices, to infuse the cooking oil with the rich flavor and mild bitterness of black mustard seeds.  When Papa Hathi makes this at home, he garnishes the dish with unsweetened grated coconut.  I did not have any at home, so I used coconut oil as my cooking oil instead and the results were delicious.  Adding the grated coconut would definitely amp up the flavor though!  Try this out, and enjoy!


Coconut Mustard Beets ~ Beet Sabji

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: serves 4 as a side, 2 as a mainTotal:

A delicious dish that enhances the natural sweetness of beets with coconut and mustard seeds. Absolutely delicious with rice or flat bread.

You'll Need...


  1. Heat a wok or large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the coconut oil and heat until it shimmers.  Add mustard seeds and quickly cover with the lid ajar.  Once the mustard seeds have stopped popping (about 30 seconds) add the chili pods, curry leaves, and chana dal.  If using fresh curry leaves, be very careful as the oil will splatter.  Saute until fragrant.
  2. Add the beets and toss quickly to coat with oil and spices.  Cover and cook stirring intermittently until the beets have softened.  Add the sugar and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the coconut if using.  Stir and enjoy.  Serve with rice or plain with a spoon.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Suresh "Papa Hathi" Hathiwala August 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I admire your improvisation. You have always remained innovative and adaptable. Keep cooking. Love.

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