Beet Soup With Raita

ho knew beets could be so elegant!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered curry
2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, ground
5 whole cooked beets, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
Crushed ice
Raita (see recipe below)
Fresh mint leaves

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, curry powder and cumin. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beets and stock and simmer 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl. Cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Remove bowl from refrigerator. Divide evenly among 6 chilled 2-ounce glasses. Place glasses in a bowl of crushed ice. Just before serving, top with raita and fresh mint leaves.

Serves 6 as an appetizer.

Raita (Cucumber Sauce)

Raita is a South Asian condiment best served chilled. It has a cooling effect on the palate which makes it a good condiment for spicy Indian dishes.

1 medium cucumber, grated and drained
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

From “House Beautiful,” September 2000.

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