I love beetroots. While these taproots are packed with nutrition, what I love most about them is their ability to turn almost everything into a shocking red. Recently, I ended up with a basket full of organic beets with glossy purple-green leaves and usually when I buy beets or the leaves, they invariably end up in a Kerala recipe like a thoran, pachadi or an avial.
This time, however, I wanted to make something different from the beetroot and its leaves. For the last one week, I had been craving for a Gujarati recipe called muthia (spiced, seasoned and steamed dumplings). These are made with gram flour and/or wheat flour, to which usually one of the vegetables like bottlegourd, cabbage, carrot, spinach or fenugreek leaves, is added. While steamed muthias are generally eaten as a snack, fried ones are mostly added to shaak (vegetable curry) like undhiyu.
I decided to substitute with the beet leaves and some shredded beetroot. Muthias remind me of my former colleagues at The Times of India, where between 4 and 5 pm every day, we would open our snack boxes and share each others’ food with the office chai. There would be so much variety, a little gossip and in the end, a lot of complaining about the weight gain because of these meetings. I believe that it was those chai and snack meetings that brought us close together and have kept me connected with some of them even after my taking up another job. Well, they say friendship comes in many unexpected ways. For me, it has come through food 🙂 Happy eating!
Muthia with beetroot and beet leaves
Beet root, shredded-1 small
Beet leaves-a handful, washed, cleaned and chopped
Wheat flour (aata) – 2 tbsp
Gram flour (besan) – 4 tbsp
Semolina (sooji/rava) – 1 tbsp
Ginger-green chilli paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1 pinch
Oil – 2 tsp
Soda bicarb – 2 pinches
Hing (asafoetida) – 1 pinch
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp
Sugar – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
In a vessel, combine the leaves, the shredded beet, the flours, semolina, ginger-green chilli paste, cumin seeds, soda bi-carb, sugar, salt, 1 tsp oil and knead into a very soft dough. Apply a little oil onto your palms and divide the dough into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a cylindrical roll approx. 150 mm. (6″) length and 25 mm. (1″) in diameter. Grease a plate and steam the rolls for about 15 minutes in a steamer, on a low flame. To check whether it is done, insert a fork or a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Remove, cool slightly and cut into 12 mm. slices and keep aside.
For tempering, heat the remaining oil in a deep pan, add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. When they crackle, add hing and sauté. Add the muthias and cook for five minutes till they are browned. If you like them crispy, then keep them on a low flame for about 10-12 more minutes.
Serve with green chutney or garlic chutney.