Cooking Together

Cooking Together: ‘Love Your Heart’ Red Curry


by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff

I like beet curry because most curries are yellow, brown or green. But this is an uniquely bright red curry!   

And red is the color for February. It symbolizes heart, love and friendship, so we give flowers and candies to our loved ones. But the American Heart Association (AHA) has a different theme. The AHA calls February “Heart Awareness Month” to remind us that heart diseases are one of the major causes of premature deaths in the U.S.  

The AHA points out that many factors contribute to our heart health; such as the family history of heart illnesses, and diet. They add  that while genetic factors are out of our control, we can make food choices for our heart health. They recommend we include fresh vegetables in our daily menu. So, let’s celebrate February by having healthy meals! 

The main ingredients going into this curry – beets, potatoes and carrots – are packed with nutrients that can help us with regulating blood flow, maintaining an ideal blood pressure and lowering the bad cholesterol. Other ingredients going into this curry – coconut milk and coconut oil – are considered healthy cooking mediums. 

Photo by Serena Sacharoff.


1 small bunch of beets (or 3 small to medium beets, equaling about 2 -2½ cups chunks)

                           1 cup chopped beet leaves or spinach (stems removed)

                           1 large or 2 small potatoes (about 1 to 1½ cups when cubed)

                           1 carrot, cleaned and cut into rounds (approximately 1 cup) 

                           2 tablespoons of coconut oil

                           1 small red onion, chopped finely

                           ½ red bell pepper, cut into small pieces after removing seeds

                           2 cloves of garlic, minced

                          1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

                           ½  teaspoon ground cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (less for a milder curry)

                          1 teaspoon salt

                          ½ cup  beet broth reserved from boiling beet roots

                          1 cup coconut milk (canned or fresh)

                          Juice of ½ lime or lemon

                          A few tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves


First, peel the beets and potatoes and cut them into chunks. Boil 3-4 quarts of water in a large pot and cook the beets for 45 minutes. Then, remove a cup of beet broth from the pot and set aside. (Later the broth will be mixed with coconut milk to make the sauce). Add the potatoes to the pot and boil them with the beets for 15 minutes. Add the carrots and boil all the roots together for 10 minutes. Drain the liquid and set the boiled roots aside. 

Next, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion, pepper, ginger and garlic until the onion starts to wilt.  Then add the boiled roots and beet greens (or spinach) and stir fry them for a few minutes. Add the powdered spices and salt and stir fry for 5 minutes. Then, combine the beet broth with coconut milk and pour over the cooking vegetables. Cover the pot and simmer the curry on moderate heat for 15 minutes. Then check for doneness by pressing a piece of beet between your fingers, if it is soft, then the curry is done. Adjust spices and sprinkle on some of the lime juice.

To serve the curry, place a cup of rice in a large serving bowl and make a well in the center. Place the curry in the middle and sprinkle the rest of the lime/lemon juice all over and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Photo by Richard Sugarek.


Recipe adopted from “Cooking Together: a Vegetarian Co-op Cookbook” ©2017 Shanta Nimbark  Sacharoff. 

Shanta  is a Sunset District resident and the author of “Cooking Together” and “Flavors of India,” both available at Other Avenues Food Co-op., Green Apple Book Store, Rainbow Grocery Co-op, and at other local bookstores. Shanta writes recipes and articles on food and teaches cooking classes. Currently she shares her recipes via videos on YouTube. To view the video of this recipe, go to the website of Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture or CUESA;  Click on Eating Seasonally and then Seasonal recipes.

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