A dish to ‘beet’ the heat

Here’s a refreshing South Indian dish made with yogurt, beet purée and cucumbers.

South India has summer weather most of the year. Hence, one of the side dishes during lunchtime is yogurt. It’s so refreshing and cooling that it is used on a daily basis in Kerala homes. My mom would make fresh yogurt from scratch, which tastes amazing. Here’s my version of a yogurt dish that can be part of any grilling menu. Adding beets to the yogurt brings a pop of color to it and is delicious. 

Beet and yogurt salad with cucumbers


  • ½ cup beet purée
  • 4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup diced white onions
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumbers (half-moons)
  • 5 tablespoons Boondi (mini chickpea fritters)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon grated ginger


  1. In a mixing bowl combine all the spices (except the ginger), then add the yogurt, ginger and onions. Mix well.
  2. Add the yogurt mixture to the serving bowl. Spread it around.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of beet purée to the yogurt. Use a spoon to make streaks of beet purée and yogurt to give the dish a beautiful pattern.
  4. Place the half-moon cucumbers on top of this mixture.
  5. Spread Boondi on top. Enjoy with grilled chicken.

For more, particularly on Rajni’s new classes in South Indian cooking for beginners, visit creativerajni.com or call 914-255-2574.


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