Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dal with Beet Greens

Little Sis aka LS is a funny creature. She is the kind you would like to have at the other table at the fancy restaurant. The kind who will stick her tongue out at you, climb up and down the high chair, throw forks around, throw folks around and make you silently gloat on your own parenting skills. When she starts yelling you can pay your tip and leave.

I cannot leave however. I am the Mother. I have to grab her by the nape while I shovel Pad Thai down mine. I have to constantly remind her that throwing a plate(thankfully it was a copper or some metallic kind) around is not acceptable behavior, that she cannot pull tablecloths or poke ac vents.

People@Home think I am too soft with her. But trust me I am not. Ok, maybe I have lost the steam to discipline since Big Sis aka BS but even then I am not soft. It is just that LS is like that, naughty and funny and always on her toes.

Now BS is the quieter one, she doesn't scold her little sis when LS shouts "My Turn" ever so often, doesn't utter a word when LS takes away her crayons, lets her lick her ice cream and only sometimes complains that LS scratched her arms.

LS never complains. If needed she throws herself on the floor albeit carefully and expresses her anger. She plays mostly with BS's friends and uses her limited English editions of "Hello", "How are You Doing", "No, don't" and "My Turn". After that she just continues in Bengali. She figures her way around them, relying totally on BS for help and ignoring any grown up interference.

A couple months back when we were at Orlando, she shook hands with Mickey and told him a lot of stuff including "Hello", "How are you doing". Unfortunately Mickey did not understand a word. Since then she has a Mickey fixation. So she is the kid you can hear yelling "Mickey", "Mickey" at the library or the mall or anywhere the familiar mouse is visible.

She is the one with parents sporting an embarrassed look.

Next time when you hear a kid in the flight protesting to wear the sea belt, when you see a kid who is practicing target with forks and peas at the restaurant, when you hear a kid whose excited voice drowns the silence in the library please, please DO NOT blame the parents.

Think of LS. Some kids are "like that wonly".

Now to the Dal cooked with a bunch of beet greens. This again is my Ma's dish. Since we usually get a bunch of beet for LS, Ma uses the greens in this Dal and it has become a family favorite. You can work around with the spices and the type of Dal. I have always, always cooked this with only Masoor--Red Lentils but I have a hunch that this will go beautifully with Toor too.


Dal with Beet Greens

Wash and cook Masoor Dal(Red Lentils) with enough water and little turmeric. I usually do it in the pressure cooker. I had about 4 cups of Cooked Dal. My dal was cooked rather thick, usually it should be more liquid.

Chop the Beet Greens. I had one bunch of it.

Heat 3-4 tsp of Oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Temper the oil with 1 small Bay Leaf, 4 cardamom, 4 clove and 1" thin stick of cinnamon

Add 2 cloves of garlic finely minced, followed soon by almost 1 &1/2 -- 2 cups of chopped onion. Fry the onion till it is soft and translucent.

Add the chopped Beet Greens. Fry the greens till there is no raw smell of the greens. If they tend to stick to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle water and scrape and fry.

Add about 1/4 tsp of Garam Masala powder if you wish and 1 more tsp of oil. Fry for couple more minutes

Now add the cooked dal. Do this gradually, sauteing the dal along with the greens so that they mix thoroughly

Now add water about 3-4 cups of it. Add salt and sugar to taste. Add chili powder to taste. Let the Dal simmer till it comes to a boil. Mix thoroughly. Switch off and squeeze a quarter lime juice into the Dal. Serve with rice or Roti or just by itself.


  1. last year ami palong bhebe beet lagiechilam. to oi die akdin dal baniechilam. khub bhalo khete hay. ki sundor chobi tulecho Sandeepa.

  2. Neither I blame the parents nor the kids ... I just love them this way.. cos I'm similar to the elder one you mentioned while my bro the mischievous one.... but time changes if today there is a noise from our table .. its my chattering n laughs while he turned to be silent observer :P

    Liked your version of masoor dal :)

  3. Ami toh shaak ta emni e kheye nebo ... garlic diye darun lage. Mushur dal eto ghono hote pare?
    Eta ekbar baniye dekhte hobe. :-)

  4. OMG this trait must be inherent to all younger siblings because I have a little sister who is exactly like that too, although in her 20s she is learning to behave ;)

    The dal looks comforting but I find decent beet greens only once in a blue moon...

  5. first time here...u hv a lovely blog with delicious collection of bengali food..especially the fish dishes..dal is such a comfort food for me..that looks yummie!

  6. what a lovely portrait of your little one!

  7. The second ones are like that wonly Sandeepa, and if the older ones are the calm patient types, the contrast is that much more stark. Enjoy the spirit.

    Oh these beet greens are very similar to chard leaves and I love making sambhar (what else did you expect!)

  8. Nupur

    You can use other greens too. As Indo said, chard will work well this way

  9. Lovely recipe Sandeepa. I make vegetable chop with beets frequently but never knew what to do with the beet greens. Most of the time kept them in the fridge till they wilted and then had to throw them off. Now I know how to use them.

  10. dal looka very delicious n healthy ...this combo is new to me but i love to try ...
    first time visiting ur blog ,u got a lovely collection of recipes here ...
    if u get time do visit my space


  11. ah those parents with kids in flights ;) didn't know about beet greens. This sounds like a very healthy, one dish meal

  12. Actually I don't blame the parents. I do feel terribly bad for them though. And for the kids. Especially the flight thing. Poor kiddo! And poor poor Mommy!

    Little S looks so cute looking under that red cone.. "What might we find here?" :D

  13. Don't blame you, but I can relate to you. Blame it on the "younger sibling" fact:-)

    I use spinach or chard in dal.. beet ar mulo shaak bheje kheye ni, kintu ebar dal e debo.

  14. Like that wonly is so right.Very cute account of LS.And nice dal too.

  15. Sandeepa, that's because LS is the younger one, I have 2 boys (8 & 3), the 3 yr old is same as LS, I feel embarassed in fron of people, I have even stopped going to places where they have table cloths !!!

  16. Lol as usual you great with words..I could almost imagine the restaurant scene :)

  17. Hi Sandeepa, as usual your post is a great read. I am still reeling with laughter. Love both BS and LS... Kids are always the same. 12 yrs back, we used to travel Delhi-Kolkata-Del by Rajdhani AC 2T. For 3 full yrs, I traveled AC 2T, but slept on a mean railway bedding of blankets etc on the floor, as little R in those days used to howl, the moment he opened his eyes in the middle of the night and saw a solid plank , 3 ft above his head serving as middle birth. In embarassment, as a ritual,sleepy eyed,I used to cover is howling mouth and run out of the compartment, and stand in front of the door opening outside.... The days passed, now I 'almost' get escorted by my grown up 13 yrs old with heavy luggage etc in airport. So hold your breath, before you understand, they will grow up into adorable princesses

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  19. Everyone, Thanks for confirming that this is normal 2nd sibling trait and here is to stay ;-)

    Amar cooked dal ta khub i ghono chilo (chobi dekho) tobe arektu liquid hole bhalo. Kintu greens diye to, tai end result ektu ghono better.


    You can also stir fry the greens

    Add minced garlic for a lovely flavor


    You had to sleep on the train floor !!! Ok, I am thanking my stars for now :-)


    DO NOT blame the parent, drink a shot and go to sleep.


    DO NOT feel SORRY for the kid. The kid is fine, maybe uncomfortable.
    You can FEEL SORRY for your co passengers like Kalyan, the Knife ;-)

  20. Hi Sandeepa,

    Thanks for the lovely dish.. I will try this out for sure..

    love to the kids.

    Take care.

  21. Sandeepa tomar article ta poday ki assuring lagchay boltay parchi na. I thought I was the only one whose kid loves to ballastic whenever at a restaurant. And really my parenting skills are not too soft or bad.

    Will try this out. I cool palak with dal a lot for my daughter. Should try this. Looks healthy.

  22. :) I used to blame the parents before I became a parent myself. Though we are quite strict and K has always been good as gold when we are outside, she is full of beans at home - chatters nineteen to the dozen and ignores our instructions a LOT.

    It doesn't take much to extend the same behaviour outside and some children choose to - no matter what you do. I have seen kids of my best friends (and I know they don't stand for this kind of behaviour either) throw things around and refuse to sit at the table and run around the other tables while one of the parents tries to bring them to order

    I guess some people would say, well don't bring the kids along then or don't go to restaurants - Really? And do we say the same thing to people who talk loudly on the phone, behave obnoxiously with waiters and generally make a nuisance of themselves?

    Not to condone scenes when parents are just chatting away merrily while the child wreaks havoc - but it is difficult with kids sometimes and hopefully people will understand that!!

  23. Yum yum! Beet greens are so healthy and your recipe looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Dear Sandeepa,

    I have been meaning to write this email for the last 3 here we go!
    I have been a probashi bangali all my life, born and brought up in Lucknow UP by my Dad (lost my Mom when I was 2) and then grew up to marry a Muslim UP you can imagine, have the mix of various cultures in my kitchen!

    When I was pregnant in Feb 2007, I realised I was craving for only shukto chochori etc....and had no clue how to make it! That's how I chanced on your lovely blog....and that has been my inspiration to surprise my family with Bong dishes (my 80 year old Dad stays with us and he is the one most impressed withwhat I make from your recipes)!

    So here is a long pending THANK YOU for the adding the beauty of bong food to my life!



  25. Loved the post about LS Sandeepa. You are so witty and have that way with words. Even the antics of LS sounds so cute and adorable.
    Like this idea of Dal with beets and oh, love those cute serving cups.

  26. aww..big sis is really sweet. I have two elder sisters who patiently let me grow out of my childhood eccentricities, I can so relate to this.
    I used to wonder how those beet greens can be used, now I know..thanks to you.

  27. Judith Waite AlleeOctober 03, 2010 11:40 AM

    Thanks for the beet green info! The photos are so helpful. Glad I found your blog when I Googled "old OR older beet greens." By the way, we have some beets in our garden that are HUGE. We had one for dinner that was about 4 inches in diameter. I was afraid it would be woody, but it was wonderful. The leaves look luscious, but I wondered if mature beet greens are still good for cooking. Any thoughts?

    Love the photo of your daughter. Mine is 30 now--those early years fly by in the blink of an eye.

    You might enjoy the "1-2-3 Magic" and "More 1-2-3 Magic" videos and a book by Dr. Thomas Phelan. 1-2-3- is especially helpful for those very active, mischievous little people (including those with ADHD for those who might be dealing with that).

    1-2-3 is so gentle it doesn't break their spirits, yet it helps them learn to control their behavior--and helps parents have more fun and less stress--and in my case, less yelling. Try the library or you can purchase on-line.

    (I'm not affiliated with Dr. Phelan, although I do use his materials in my work with parents.)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. I just made this. It's wonderful, thank you! I substituted the water for a can of coconut milk and some yummy organic vegetable broth. I'm sure the result is quite different from using water, but it is still absolutely wonderful. The sweetness brought by the coconut milk was very much appreciated by my 6 yr old!! Thanks again. It was great to make something than soup with my beet greens!

  29. I stumbled upon this recipe today and it is indeed mouth watering. I have bought some organic spices from The Organic Garden which I believe are going to add organic flavour to the dish.


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