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Karan's Beetroot Curry

Karan Gokani, chef & author of Hoppers: The Cookbook

Serves: 4 as a side

Karan's Beetroot Curry
Photo by:  

Ryan Wijayaratne

Excerpted from Hoppers: The Cookbook: Recipes, Memories and Inspiration from Sri Lankan Homes, Streets and Beyond by Karan Gokani. Copyright © 2022. Available from Hardie Grant Publishing.

While there are several recipes in this book that find their roots in ourJaffna trip and the many memorable meals I have had at Jet wing hotels across Lanka, the recipe below is something Dharshi cooks for the boys at home. We often feature this beetroot curry as part of our rice and curry lunch plate at the restaurants and I frequently make it at home when I’m after a quick, healthy meal. It adds a vibrancy to the plate and a beautiful sweetness to the meal. You can use everything from baby rainbow beets to golden beets in it and just wilt in some shredded greens like beet leaves, kale or spinach at the end, to give the dish yet another dimension.

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  • 1½ tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Bindu Black Mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon Sugandhi Fenugreek
  • 100g (3½ oz) red onion (approx. 1 small onion), finely sliced
  • ¾ teaspoon Surya Salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 7.5 centimeter (3 in) piece pandan leaf
  • 10 – 12 curry leaves
  • 400 grams (14 oz) raw beetroot (beets), peeled and cut into 5mm (¼ in) thick matchsticks
  • ¼ teaspoon Pragati Turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon Peni Miris Cinnamon or 5 centimeter (2 in)  Wild Cinnamon Quill
  • ¾ tsp powdered Byadgi Chillies
  • ½ tsp ground Jodhana Cumin
  • 250ml (9 fl oz) water
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) coconut milk
  • Juice of ½ lime


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once they begin to splutter, add the onions, salt, garlic, pandan leaf and curry leaves. Cook for 2 minutes until everything has softened; you don’t need to brown the onions.
  2. Add the beetroot (beets), turmeric, cinnamon, chilli powder and cumin and mix well. Pour in about 250ml (9fl oz) water, just enough to cover the beetroots, and cook for 8–10 minutes. At this stage, the water should have been absorbed or evaporated and the beetroot should be tender but holding its shape.
  3. Now add the coconut milk and cook, uncovered, for 3–4 minutes, or until it has all been absorbed and you have a thick semi-dry curry in the pan. Check the seasoning and add the lime juice just before serving.

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