Caramelized Vidalia Onion and Beets

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c cooked chana dal
  • 2 tbsp butter (or vegetable ghee for a vegan option)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 5 small beets
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 c cooked Basmati rice

Looking for a clever side dish to take to your next potluck or family gathering? This is a wow-worthy side that takes no casserole foundations you’ve ever heard of. Slice onion kinda (but not obnoxiously) thin. Dice roasted, peeled beets into 1/4″ cubes. Start melting your butter on it’s journey to M, then add onions; toss and cook for 6-8m. Add sugar and vinegar to pan, stir and reduce heat to L until the onions begin to caramelize (15-25m). Add beets and stir together with water. Bring burner back to M and keep pan contents on its toes for a minute or two. Add garlic; stir. Add 1 c milk and remainder of seasonings and let come back to a boil for about 2m. Smash your beets as well as possible without burning yourself or making a huge mess that’ll never come out. Add remaining 2 c of milk slowly, stirring all the while. Then, and only then, add in your cooked split chickpeas. Bring the pan back to a boil on M, then cover and reduce heat to L for 20m.

The reason why this makes a better side dish than entree was only discovered this afternoon as we both paused halfway through our bowls from both the sweetness and the richness of that sweetness. It is a visually impressive dish with a delectable tapestry of flavors… but when sweet overpowers curry, you know something needs sidelining. This, fortunately, is a dry enough sauce that it is perfect for mixing in with cooked rice or for layering on top in a casserole dish. 5 spoons as an accent piece, 3 as an entree.

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