August 04, 2012
Ethiopian Beet & Potato Salad (and Bento)
Ethiopian cuisine has wonderful salads. The cool lemony character of this one is quite refreshing, and the two-tone pink and purple appearance is pleasingly cheerful. This recipe is adapted from Meskerem Restaurant (Washington, DC), by way of Epicurious, as well as local versions of the dish as served here in Vancouver. It is vegan, gluten-free, and great for picnics, bento, or any other packed meal.
Ethiopian Beet & Potato Salad
Serves 8 - 10
Total Prep & Cooking Time: 1 hour
450 grams yellow potatoes
450 grams red beet roots
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons peanut oil*
1/2 onion (yellow or red), finely diced
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely diced
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
Pinch ground fenugreek seeds
Wash and trim the beets, and simmer in a medium saucepan for about 35 - 45 minutes (depending on size), or until tender. Remove the beets from the liquid, and slice in half. Use a paper towel (or three...or a dexterous use of spoons to be waste-free) to remove the skins from the beets – they should just rub right off. Dice into bite-sized pieces. You may want to protect your cutting board from the pink dye in the beets – a couple of layers of waxed paper, or waxed paper over newspaper should work. Protect your hands, too, or you will have pink fingers/nails, although it comes off in a day or so. (Note: you can also roast the beets in foil or parchment instead of simmering them, especially if you happen to have oven on for some other purpose.) Wash all cutting boards etc. right away to minimize stains.
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, gently simmer the peeled and bite-sized diced yellow or white or red-skinned potatoes for 20 – 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes, and let them dry out a little in the warm pot.
While the beets and potatoes are cooking, dice the onion and jalapeño, and place them in a large serving bowl with the lemon juice and peanut oil. When the potatoes have dried off a little, add them (still warm) to the onion mixture, and gently combine. Add the beets, and stir through until everything is a lovely pink shade. Toast the yellow mustard seeds just until they start popping, then pour them over the salad, along with the salt and fenugreek powder. Stir well to combine. You can make this ahead by a day or three. Keep tightly covered in the refrigerator.
* For peanut allergies, substitute the mild-flavoured vegetable oil of your choice. Canola works well.
My International Bento: Ethiopian edition, contains Berbere-baked chicken drumsticks, Ingudie & Yellow Peas Wat, and Beet & Potato salad. Hearty, and delicious!