Traditional beet sabzi is spicy and sweet with a hint of sour

Sahar Siddiqi
Lutz Green Leaf Beets. National Garden Bureau photo

This beet dish is sweet, spicy and sour from the amchur powder. 

This recipe is courtesy of Sahar Siddiqi, chef de cuisine of Chai Pani in Decatur, Georgia.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 18 minutes

Total time: Just over a half-hour


3 large beets, grated (use a food processor or box grater)

3 onions, sliced thinly 

2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 cup of high-quality cooking oil

4 whole dried red chilies, such as chile de arbol

2 tablespoons cumin seed

4-5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons amchur powder

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt to taste


Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the whole chilis and the cumin seeds and allow them to sputter and get fragrant in the oil. 

Add the onions and stir until they begin to get soft and caramelize. 

Add the beets and tomatoes and stir. Add a few pinches of salt and the sugar, and continue to cook, stirring, as the vegetables release their water. 

Continue to cook on high heat until almost jammy, stirring frequently as beets will burn quickly due to high sugar content, around 15 minutes. Add the amchur powder and stir. 

The final product should be spicy, sweet, with a hint of sour from the amchur. Adjust salt and sugar accordingly.