Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beet Gajor Chechki


Before I tell you what I got and did for Mothers Day I need a little prelude, a flashback.

"It was my birthday some couple of months back(don't wish me it will be way belated). I no longer look forward to birthdays, not because of the cliched age factor but more pertinent issues at hand.

The foremost being "OMG what is the hubby going to get me this time". This phrase has changed from anticipation to foreboding over the years.I have known the husband for long and it seems to be getting worse. Not because he gets me bad presents but because he gets impulsive presents.
At the very beginning it was pretty nice and simple, he was a regular friend and got me nothing and demanded a treat. Then he got me books which was nicer except for the time he got a Stroustrup.

It seemed to go wrong after marriage though. I try to give him ideas come birthday time and since I am a sensible girl I ask him to get stuff which can be of household use but he has his own ideas and tries to spring a surprise every time which I have begun to grow afraid of. The poor guy is actually pretty good at heart and his gifts would be ideal for any female but me.

This time it was the worst of worse, he got me a gift card to a Spa. A Spa, a Spa, what was he thinking ? I am not even remotely the Spa kind and as much I know of him neither is he. In fact he had been attracted by my well oiled whiskers in the first place. Why would he want me to go to a Spa and get rid of them and other such stuff ? What would I do there or rather what would the Spa people do with me ? They would not even know where to start. And if I stripped and lay down on their massage tables that would be the end of it.

I was pretty depressed with this whole Spa thing, perfect good money wasted I felt. I could have blown that all out in Pier 1 and revamped the whole house and now I have to do pedicure every month to use up the gift card, I lamented. My feet who are used to such luxury maybe only twice a year are not going to be too happy and no way am I going to get a massage laying down all naked."

So its been a while now, I have not used the Gift card yet, it expires in two years, so I still have time to muster courage. And in the next post I will tell you about Mothers day and the GIFTs.


Chechki in motion

Now to the Chechki. Ok, I don't even know if this dish is called a chechki. My Ma used to simply call it Beet Gajor er Bhaja(a stir fry of beet & carrots). But a friend said she does the same and calls it chechki. Given that I have no "chechki" in my repertoire I decided to call it that and now I have "charchari", "ghonto" and yes a "chechki" too in my blog, a one stop shop for all bong varieties. With this you can only guess what "hits" I am going to get, including a deluge of Phelps' fans who will be totally at sea, well but they better swim.


Beet Gajor Chechki (Beet & Carrots stir fry)

Prep: Wash, peel and Chop two medium sized beet root and two decent sized carrots in thin slices and a length of 2" or so. The way you chop is important in this dish.

Start Cooking:

Heat Oil in a Kadhai or Wok or a wide mouthed frying pan. I used Olived Oil and it is fine but you can use Canola or Peanut or Sunflower oil. No mustard oil here.

Temper the Oil with 3/4 tsp of Kalonji/Nigella seeds. When the spices start popping add 1/3 cup of chopped red onion and 5-6 slit hot Indian green chili. Note: you can substitute the Kalonji with Paanch Phoron if you wish

Once the onion turns pink and translucent add the chopped beet root and carrots

Add salt, a little turmeric and fry for 2-3 minutes so that the veggies is nicely coated with what little spice you have there.

Cover and cook at medium heat. Every few minutes raise the cover and give the veggies a good stir.

You might need to sprinkle a little water but that would be very little just to create moisture to aid in the cooking.

Cook till the beet root is well done(carrot will cook quicker hopefully). Give one more good stir and taste-adjust for any seasoning. Enjoy with roti or by itself

Note: I do not add garlic or any other spices in this dish but you can add a little garlic along with the onion & green chilli, I think it might give a nice kick to the dish

Update: This time around I did add 1 clove of garlic finely minced along with the onion and also added little lime juice at the end as suggested by a reader. Both added a lovely new layer to the taste

Trivia: Borscht is an Eastern European soup made from beets that has been an important winter staple in countries like Russia and Poland since the 14th century. In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR's Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht squeezed from tubes and other treats.

Also if you are in Belgium this dish would have certainly helped you today as Belgium has declared Thursday as a Vegetarian Day in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint


  1. Olive oil doesn't go well with Indian spices at all, specially Bong spices like kalonji and panchphoron. Instead its better to use the healthiest cooking medium which is also among the most neutral and that is Rice Bran oil which incientally has a high smoke point making it eve more convenient for Indian cooking. For the beet chechki, a twist of lime or lemon in the end goes quite well with the sweetness of carrots and beets.

  2. Hi Anon

    I have absolutely no problem with Olive Oil going well with Indian spices. Use it in a lot of my cooking. As per mine and my family's taste we like it. I know individual tastes vary though and I have a friend whose Mom refuses to eat Bong food cooked in Olive oil while the said friend does it all the time.

    I wouldn'st suggest it for frying fish or any other cooking which needs to be done at a high heat point though

    Will definitely try the lime though I like the sweetness

  3. Its such a simple yet lovely stir fry. I have eaten beets and carrots together only in kurma. This shud taste good. And on the Gift part my hubby has never remembered my b'day :)

  4. LOL about spa gift! Friday itself my son brought a huge card and pot of flowers but sunday both of them forgot it :) I will be really surprised if he gives a gift for my birthday!
    Different veggie, my head is spinning seeing ur second pic...

  5. "a one stop shop for all bong varieties" - When I was reading this I said, Aha! Now look at the search terms she'll get, and then I noticed your next sentence :-D

  6. :D your hubby sounds like mine
    love this dish, can i use my all time fav : mustard oil?

  7. Hi, I have never preferred beet as a veggie, but your preparation has awakened my interest. :)
    Beet will now get added to my list of "groceries and vegeables to buy" for the next week.

  8. Hi Sandeepa,
    LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOL I was rolling with laughter with tearful eyes...tha was reaaaaally a comical read, u r a darling sandeepa :)u've brought out the universal husbandorial;) typical qualities :)the book and the spa gift was hahahahahahahahahahahahaha..god! thanks a lot for the hearty laugh
    after the read I was admiring the pics, slowly scrolled Chams's comment and went HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA all the way again coz actually I admired the spinning kinda snap and was all prepared to write my comments ....I laughed so much that I don't know what to write :) :) :)
    Beet and gajar are a good combi love such healthy stir fries.
    BTW belated B'day wishes hehehehehe sorry I had to wish u ;)
    Enjoy the weekend

  9. He gave u a Stroustrup?! Was he hinting at anything in particular or well .. you could have used it as a substitute to a dumbbell. :-)
    You can call it chechki alright.:-)

  10. Lovely veggie dear..color looks awesome...nice post..was fun to read :) though i am not married but i have always seen cases where hubby forget their wife's birthday :( i know my dad always forget's my moms bday and we remind him few days ahead and still he forgets :)

  11. Thank you for putting a smile on my face.Hilarious read.Husbands!!Same all over huh?

  12. Hi hi loved the post. I guess men are not that good in buying gifts inlike us women :-)
    Love the beet dish looks so yummy delicous.

  13. First and foremost I laughed my gut out. Thanks a ton for this post. In fact I invited few of my colleagues to read it as well and we are still laughing. To add more spice to it, at that moment only we received a complimentary voucher each for a celeb salon and spa.

    Now on a serious note. Good to see you defending olive oil. Though Virgin and Extra virgin olive oils are unsuitable for deep frying, Pomace Olive oil is perfect even for deep frying. It boils at a much higher temperature, hence no fear of molecules breaking at high temperature. Off late I am working on a Promotional campaign for Olive Oil in Indian Homes by Olive Oil Council, Spain, hence had the opportunity/ access to some info on the same. However, our Bong kind of fish preparations in Olive oil leaves a slight flavoured sweetness in mind.

  14. BM, "Belated bday wishes" I know you dont like to be wished but still I like to wish... When I started reading your prelude all I could do was laugh, I guess husband gradually improve on becoming worst of worse, within one yr of marriage I knew that well enough and yeah gifts graduating from bad to impulsive certainly... Anyways all that apart, your beet gajor chechki looks yummy, havent tried garlic with beets... I have noticed that Olive oil works for me too I just like the taste of with Indian Spices!!!

  15. I am still laughing, with DD2 in the backgroung asking 'What are you laughing about?'. "Stroustrup" eh? We slept with him a lot during our college days!! Was Mr.San trying to make a geek out of you? Did it work?

    I do a similar dish but cube the carrots and beets, these sticks make it all the more attractive and might even get the kids to eat it.

  16. Nirmala
    This is a really easy and quick dish. I make mine remember and he dare not forget. You are too good :)


    You are too nice to not remind them :) Yeah my daughter's school had a tea thing on Friday too

    :D. I will mail you the "keywords" if you are really interested

    M. Oil, mmmmmm not sure. I have not used with beets ever. Try and let me know

    My Experiments
    Beet root as a veggie tastes really good. i like the sweetness it imparts

    That snap was a mistake, I mean I didn't intend to, the camera clicked while in motion.Have to take quick pics on weekdays and not much time to edit etc.

    That would have worked better :) No, but seriously I needed it and it was expensive so was dilly-dallying about buying.

    The hubby is good that way, always , always remembers such dates

    Thanks :)


    I wouldn't say that, he has got me good things like my cameras and even a Nikon DSLR. But the thing is I am NOT an impulsive buyer and when buying something expensive I tend to wait & watch and then do it only if necessary
    The husband on the other hand tends to do impulsive buying when it comes to gifts and me being the "cheapo" in the family, I get worked up by such squandering

  17. I am a regular reader of your delicious blog and am ( sob) so sad to see I am not on your blog list. What can I do to get on it?

  18. BWM

    Didn't know about Pomace Oil, will check it out. Pai ki na dekhi. I was hearing over the radio that Olive Oil in a regular store in Turkey (?)is much better than what we get here. The cloudy olive oil is best it seems but it doesn't have a market in the US.
    What do you say ?

    You are right about the fish, I do all my fish bakes with olive oil though


    :) I am not too much of a puritan about Oil too.


    This was after college, my first job, didn't have Stroustrup in college, i wasn't CS. But I needed to pick up C++ and as I told Sharmila, wasn't buying that book because of the price.
    Don't know about geeky but I was never fond of the language he wrote. I love the other one :D

  19. Oh Sandeepa.. LOL LOL LOL

    But really i at this stage i would not mind a SPA card.. i would have loved Pier 1, pottery barn.. but a spa card would be great too.. would not have said the same a few years back, & i'm not the spa kind too, even tho i have gone half naked for a massage table ( do it, Please.. & i bet u will want to go back).. i hubby is great with gifts.. & surprises & the massage as one of them:-) whiskers.. lol

    I cook with olive oil too, & really love the kalonji & green chilli combo. that flavor cannot be comapared & i love this chechki u made.. waiting for the other update...

  20. lol! lovely post Sandeepa. But the suspense about the mother's day gift is killing me now :D

    I use extra virgin olive oil a lot in my cooking too, when used sparingly in curries it doesn't really alter the taste. But I heard unlpeasant things about Pomace olive oil from a cooking class (by an Italian chef) I attended. The solid remnants left from the extraction of evoo is used to make Pomace. She said its really not suitable for consumption and is used only to fire oil lamps and such. The quality is really low, and usually synthetic matls are added to it to make it more flammable. If I recollect well, she also mentioned that it is banned for consumption in a few countries, and US isn't on that list. I haven't tried it personally though.

  21. Priya

    Thanks for the info. I did some gogling and I think it is better NOT to use it for home cooking -- good discussions here on pomace
    It also says the chemicals used to extract pomace oil, destroy the goodness of Olive Oil. So for frying rather use Vegetable oil than Pomace.
    And wow on cooking class with Italian chef

    You might consider this in your next meeting with the Olive Oil Council :)

  22. OMG! Nitin is just like that too. For weeks before a birthday a few years ago, I hinted and hinted at a new epilator that had just come into the market. And there was no subtlety in my hints too! But he goes and gets me a back massager!!! Good hearted but has no clue when it comes to gift giving. I'd love a spa one though! :)

    So chechki and bhaja are different terms for a bhaji? Beet and carrot combi sounds good!

  23. LOL about the gifts. Arent they all the same. The best gift giving men always seem to be married elsewhere :)

    The chechki looks good. Try it with mooli sometime. I usually chop the onion and mooli in the food processor to an almost grated consistency...definitely not a paste. After the same phoron (kalonji, green chillies) Dump them all in the pan together and keep stirring on high heat without covering so it remains dry. I dont add turmeric. Just salt.

  24. If you do mail me the keywords, I will most likely put them on my 'Continuing Blog Education' posts and add Bengali variety to the Malayali Chechi sort I'm routinely hit with - :-D Dubious delights! :)

  25. LMAO! Sandeepa, this is such a funny post :D

    A buys me things I want only. I think its coz we are in the first year no?

    Or, mebbe, I'm happy with what he gets me :| I shall change :P

    I LOVE this sabzi. I'm a beet fan. So, bookmarked!

  26. LMAO! Sandeepa, this is such a funny post :D

    A buys me things I want only. I think its coz we are in the first year no?

    Or, mebbe, I'm happy with what he gets me :| I shall change :P

    I LOVE this sabzi. I'm a beet fan. So, bookmarked!

  27. this dish looks gorgeous!

  28. I loved your blog..and my feelings on spa is ditto yours..a waste of perfect money..and you can watch me die before I allow myyself naked on a spa table..hahahahah and the beet gajor chechki is the only way I can make these two veggies go down my kids throat.

  29. LOl...that's all I can say at the moment :-D

  30. Love all your posts..LOL....This time he was not bad at all..a spa treat is quite thoughtful gift from a hus, I would say....You can call it a chechki for sure...lovely combination

  31. LOL, tell me about it! Siv is the king of well-meaning and expensive but totally useless gifts! But last month he actually got me some fabulous tops when he went on a business trip, those were so perfect and just my style I was totally in shock :) The guy got it right after almost 13 years, or maybe it was a fluke, but anyway my point is you still have hope. One of these days you might be pleasantly surprised!

    Hope you enjoyed those pedicures! :)

  32. lol sandeepa. i can identify with your poor husband. got my mom a spa voucher for her birthday this last year and she still hasnt stopped complaining! just go and try it - you never know - you might enjoy it! otherwise swap it with someone on ebay or something? i wish i could go to a spa prepaid! my boyfriend has not once remembered a birthday ior anniversary in all the years we have been together, so congrats to you :D

    ps: going through a no cooking phase. you know what i miss? tangra machher jhol with kaach kola etc

  33. I didn't have a name for this one. I make something similar but add cabbage too. Chechki is a cute name for the tasty dish!

  34. PICTURE PLEASE --- oh i am not screaming my guts out though.

  35. Hey Sandeepa...first time to ur blog.U have a nice one out here.I cudnt stop laughing reading ur post.....i guess all men are the same.My husband is already working on buying me sumtng for our anniversary now...god knows wat he wud be upto.Men think tooooo much i guess:-P.I liked the chechki...wud love a tinge of garlic in it:-)

  36. Belated wishes Sandeepa. Seems odd to me to ignore wishing when I knew it. Anyway LOL at the spa gift.
    Loved the simplicity of the recipe.

  37. I have to take your husband's side on this - its the thought behind the gift, its the thought - the thought!!! ;) Sometimes one just wants the other person to have something - not necessarily useful or exactly what the other person has in mind. Isn't that the point of a gift?

    In my case, I get very irritated with hubby because he is soo picky - he never seems to think about the fact that I put so much of thought into the gift. He went on and on about how much he needed a massage and when I went and picked up a gift card for a spa which opened right behind our house, he said "what! that spa? which must be charging so much but is actually worth nothing?" I was very very miffed - he likes massages and he could have atleast walked into the spa before making up his mind about how bad it was!

    Then another time he went on and on about how he didnt know any good "new" fiction writers to read - I found one and bought it for him and he turns around and says "I have stopped buying these "fast fiction reads", if you had just got the title for me I would have picked it up from the library!" AARgh!

    Sorry, I seem to have hijacked your space with my rants :)

    here's to more annoying gifts from our spouses! ;)

  38. LOL....but it's gud for the change isn'it? Now I like tht you are getting afraid of his gifts :)..hehe...but something is better than nothing DH ..aahh he never gets anything just tell me go and get it whtever you want take my card! It being all the way like this and after marriage am not expecting a miracle ! Inbtw Chechki looks gud and simple...I simply love the beet colour

  39. Loved your post and was smiling when I read about the hubby and his attempts. I have a similar issue. He loves buying things (they are practical gifts) for me but these can go wrong at times. But I like the fact that he does try.
    Will try the beet gajor dish - sounds nice.

  40. darling, just go to the spa and relax with a book all day. that will be treat by itself.

  41. Oh my God, we have the same hubby!

    Jokes apart, you could give him a direct hint and hand him a wishlist with several items and he can "surprise" you with one of them.

    Being a non-spa practical type myself, I can just imagine how you felt.

  42. Hi, Sandeepa,

    Another huge hit. I made this checkhi tonight, with beets only (no carrots in fridge), and used coconut oil. I also used a large clove of garlic and added lime juice at the end. It was excellent!

    We had this with rasam, cucumber raita and rice. It was a lovely meal. Thanks for another superb recipe.

  43. Just made this after a long time — it’s an old favorite for us, thanks to you Sandeepa.


Thanks for your Comments. I hope you will be nice and not Spam.