“Ambat” is typically a south Indian Konkani dish. It is a spicy, tangy coconut gravy which can be made with any vegetable but with a seasoning of onions.
Normally, a small amount of cooked dal is added to it to give a thickness to the gravy, but today, I have made this “beet greens ambat” without the dal as I wanted a thinner curry for rice.
When purchasing beetroots or beets from your grocery, you normally would find only the beets without the greens attached to it. Actually, the greens are the best and most nutrient part of this amazing vegetable with nutrients like vitamin C, iron, beta-carotene, calcium etc. So as much as possible, get them with the greens attached and now you have two vegetables to cook with.
This amazing Konkani or “Amchi” dish, as we call it in our community, is a favorite comfort food in our house, to eat piping hot either with rice or chapattis or rotis.
Beet Greens Ambat
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Fresh or frozen coconut: ½ cup
Red chilles: 6 to 7 (slightly roasted)
Tamarind paste – ½ tsp or one small marble-sized ball of fresh tamarind
Beet greens : 1 bunch (chopped)
Onions – 1 medium, finely chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Wash, chop and cook the greens along with half of the chopped onions in a pressure cooker for one whistle.
Meanwhile, in a small blender, blend the coconut, red chillies and tamarind to a fine paste.
Once the pressure has dropped from the cooker, transfer to another vessel and add the coconut masala.
Mix well, add the required salt and bring to a boil.
In another pan, heat the oil and add the other half of the onions. Fry well till light brown; do not fry too much as they can turn bitter.
Add this seasoning to the coconut beet masala and mix well.
Serve hot with rice, chapatti, bread, rotis etc.
If you want to make this ambat in the traditional way, you can add about ½ cup of cooked toor dal to the gravy when you add the coconut masala.
The amount of red chilles and tamarind can be adjusted to your taste.
This coconut gravy can also be made with any vegetable you have like ivy gourd (tendli; add some cashews along with this for a wonderful combination with this), pumpkin, or any other greens you have. Have fun trying with other vegetables too.
Do try this delicious traditional Konkani dish and let me know how you liked it.
To save energy and speed up cooking time, always bring any liquid to a boil by closing the vessel or pan with a lid. This quickens the process; but when boiling milk and to avoid over spill, keep checking.