Beetroot raita in the instant pot is a healthy, very creamy yogurt dip that goes perfectly with Indian entrees. This raita is a fresh and fun side that's a must with rice-based dishes like biryani and pulao. A 20-minute, 5-ingredient recipe in the instant pot!
Another great raita recipe on the blog is this cooling onion raita. Do check it out:)
When it comes to side dishes for Indian entrees, raita (savory, flavored yogurt) is there at the very top of the list. Think one-pot meals like chicken biryani or pulao. I don't think I can ever have a plateful of biryani without raita. It just doesn't taste the same.
The reason is not very difficult to guess either. Indian food is generally rich with lots of spices. It needs something to balance the richness, and it is the humble raita that comes to the rescue. Chilled yogurt is the perfect accompaniment and antidote to spice.
This beetroot raita is a pretty pink in color (thanks to all those beets) and tastes terrific too. You will love it for its uniqueness and good looks, if nothing else! I find myself making this raita ever so often as an accompaniment to my main dishes.
To switch things up a bit, I also make an eggplant raita, dahi baingan, that tastes really good with curries. Thin slices of eggplant are shallow-fried along with onions and garlic, cooled, then mixed in with cold yogurt.
Ingredients in this beetroot raita recipe
- 2 medium-sized beets - choose firm and deep red beets for maximum color and taste.
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds - roasted and crushed to bring out the flavor.
- 3 cups full-fat yogurt, chilled.
- salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
Why use the instant pot for making this beetroot raita?
We use the instant pot to steam the beets which makes this recipe faster and hassle-free. It is also a good way to retain all the nutrients. If you set out to boil the beets in an open saucepan, it will take a lot of time to soften them. Plus, most of the nutrients will leach into the water, and unless you can find a way to use that water, go waste. For these two reasons, steaming the beets in a pressure cooker works best.
How to make beetroot raita
There are 3 simple steps to making the beets raita.
1. Steam the beets in your instant pot - I use my instant pot to pressure cook unpeeled beets for 5 minutes with pressure release after 5 minutes. Then I peel the beets and chop them into small pieces.
If you want the raita to have a smooth texture, you can puree the cooked beets in a small blender. I don't always do this as I like my raita to be a little chunky. It is a personal preference though. Go ahead and blend the beets if you so wish!
2. Roast the cumin seeds - Roasted cumin seeds have an unmatched depth and flavour. To roast them, add some seeds to a dry pan and saute on high heat for a few minutes. When the seeds turn dark and fragrant, take them off the hob and let them cool down a bit. Then grind them in a spice grinder (a turn or two), or crush them by hand in a mortar and pestle. You can do this while the beets are steaming in the instant pot.
3. Mix the beets and cumin with yogurt - This is the fun part! I love how the yogurt turns an attractive pink colour as the beet pieces are mixed into it. Add the roasted and crushed cumin, salt, a bit of sugar, mix well and it's done. Your beet raita is ready.
Serve this raita with a curry of your choice. Palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese curry), chicken tikka masala or even rajma chawal (kidney beans with rice) are some good options to try with this raita. Or have spoonfuls of creamy raita just like that. The choice is yours!
1. Grate the beets instead of steaming them - the taste of uncooked beets is a little different from cooked ones though. There is a rawness which does not appeal to everyone, but lots of people like it that way.
2. Add a tadka to your raita - tadka is the word for tempering. It adds an extra zing to the raita and makes it a little fancy. To do the tadka, heat a teaspoon of oil in a small frypan and add one clove chopped garlic, 4-5 mint leaves, and if you want, a sliced green chilli. When the garlic turns brown, tip everything into the raita. The hot oil will sizzle as it comes in contact with the cold yogurt, but that's okay. Just be careful while doing it!
- 6-quart Instant Pot Duo
- Small frypan
- Spice grinder
- 2 medium beets
- 3 cups yogurt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Pour 2 cups water in your Instant Pot and place the wire rack (trivet) that came with the pot in the water. Place the unpeeled beets on the rack. Secure the lid, making sure the steam release handle is on 'sealing'. Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- While the beets are steaming, take the cumin seeds in a small frypan and dry roast them on medium heat until they change color and become fragrant. Put them in a spice grinder and grind to a coarse powder.
- When the timer beeps on the instant pot, wait for 5 minutes, then do a pressure release. Open the cooker and take out the beets. Peel and cut into small pieces.
- Take the yogurt in a bowl and mix in the roasted and crushed cumin, salt and sugar. Beetroot raita is ready to be served.
- Choose firm, deep-red beets for full taste and color.
- You can use full-fat Greek yogurt for thicker and even creamier raita.
- The cooked beets can be pureed for a smooth raita if that's what you prefer.
- Temper the raita if you want a more intense taste and flavor. Heat a teaspoon of cooking oil in a small frypan and add a clove of chopped garlic, 4-5 mint leaves and 1 sliced green chilli. Wait for the garlic to turn brown (a few seconds), then pour everything carefully into the prepared raita.
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