This is a recipe which originates from Iran. It is called Borani-e-labu (labu are beets in Farsi). My grandmother used to steam the beets and then slice them right into the yogurt, and voila, that magenta coloured yogurt would appear. I was reading an article by Melissa Clark in the NYT (January 16, 2009) in which her friend peels and dices the beets, douses them with olive oil and roasts them in the oven. This method is lovely, as the candy-like quality of the beet appears in less than a mere 40 minutes, perfectly tender. I use her concept for roasting. The rest is from my grandmum :). —shayma
medium-sized beets, peeled and sliced thin, about 1/8 of an inch
good olive oil
cups drained yogurt—or make life simpler by purchasing thick Greek yoghurt or labneh from a Middle Eastern store
fresh chopped mint (more to taste)
Pre-heat your oven to 375° F.
In the meanwhile, peel and slice your beets, approximately 1/8th of an inch of thickness (about the thickness of 2 quarters). [Editor's note: Using a mandoline slicer would make this easy!]
Line roasting pan with foil, add beets (it's okay if they overlap), douse with olive oil, and let them roast for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Check after first 25 minutes for doneness, and give them a stir.
Allow beets to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
On 4 plates, slather spoonfuls of the thick yogurt in a circular pattern and arrange cooled beets on top. Sprinkle with fresh mint and salt. Drizzle olive oil on top and serve with crusty bread (or lavash, if you can find it) as a first course.
A Pinot Noir from Oregon is one of our faves with this appetizer.
Shayma Saadat is a cookery teacher, food writer, stylist and photographer who focuses on the food of her heritage - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which she refers to as Silk Route cuisine. Shayma lives in Toronto with her husband and son. You can follow her culinary journey on Instagram @SpiceSpoon.