We never struggle to have a meat and fish free evening at least once a week (although Emily might disagree as to what constitutes a ‘struggle’).
However, I can with confidence point a finger toward the event which caused a serious upsurge in our vegetarian eating habits across the average week – the arrival of ‘Prashad’. This fantastic vegetarian indian cookbook by Kaushy Patel doesn’t carry a single bum note. Divided into handy sections for snacks, soups, main courses, breads, rice and sides the book has inspired a weekly culinary pilgrimage in our house to the Gujurati recipes found amongst its pages.
For me, the best things I’ve learnt have included perfecting the preparation of masalas and gaining confidence in when to add them to the pot, the brilliant rice dishes which are morish and come out perfect every time and more generally, how warming, hearty, healthy and clean each recipe tastes and feels.
Bundobust in Leeds is my number one recommendation to artists I work with who are on an overnight visit to the city and one day soon I hope to enjoy a celebratory meal at the mothership, Prashad in nearby Drighlington.
Rather than attempt to reproduce one of Kaushy’s dishes here, I wanted to share a side dish which became a go to last summer. It works really well with any spicy main course be it kebabs or curry, kofte or Texan BBQ. I was first inspired to make it by the bumper crop of beets the summer of 2016 brought to the back yard.
serves 2 as a side
- 1 large beetroot (any variety)
- 400ml natural yoghurt, ideally live set
- 1tsp mint sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- sea salt and black pepper
- Wash, peel, top and tail the beetroot before shredding in a food processor. Fine grating will cause the beet to turn mushy so ensure you select a course setting or attachment.
- Dress the beetroot 1tbsp at a time with the yoghurt. The measure above is a rough guide – you just want enough to dress the beetroot like a coleslaw or remoulade, so only use as much as you need for this. (In fact, calling this raita might on hindsight have been naughty.)
- Finally, add the mint sauce, sugar and seasoning before tossing to combine – serve immediately.
We had this most recently with potato and aubergine curry and their cumin pilau. As I mentioned in the description above it’s so diverse it can combat any number of different spicy dishes – a must try for those who hate boiled, pickled beetroot from school days past.