Monday, March 28, 2011

Beet Root Rasam

My Mom last week said that beet root is good for health and try to include in more in our daily diet. So I got this beet root and wanted to try something different this time. So thought of making something light. So here is the recipe, it was so yummy and completely took a whole new level from the usual rasam recipes. This recipe is a eye pleaser and very tasty.

Health benefits of Beet Root

Beetroots are a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. It functions by acting with other nutrients to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homologue of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine, which can be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease,stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Betaine functions in conjunction with S-adenosylmethioninefolic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12 to carry out this function.

Additionally, several preliminary studies on both rats and humans have shown betaine may protect against liver disease, particularly the build up of fatty deposits in the liver caused by alcohol abuse, protein deficiency, or diabetes, among other causes. The nutrient also helps individuals with hypochlorhydria, a condition causing abnormally low levels of stomach acid, by increasing stomach acidity.
Beetroot juice has been shown to lower blood pressure and thus help prevent cardiovascular problems. Research published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension showed drinking 500 ml of beetroot juice led to a reduction in blood pressure within one hour. The reduction was more pronounced after three to four hours, and was measurable up to 24 hours after drinking the juice. The effect is attributed to the high nitrate content of the beetroot. The study correlated high nitrate concentrations in the blood following ingestion of the beetroot juice and the drop in blood pressure. Dietary nitrate, such as that found in the beetroot, is thought to be a source for the biological messenger nitric oxide, which is used by the endothelium to signal smooth muscle, triggering it to relax. This induces vasodilation and increased blood flow.
Other studies have found the positive effects beetroot juice can have on human exercise and performances. In studies conducted by the Exeter University, scientists found cyclists who drank a half-litre of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 20 per cent longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice. 
It is a rich source of the element boronField Marshal Montgomery is reputed to have exhorted his troops to 'take favours in the beetroot fields', a euphemism for visiting prostitutes.From the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood. Bartolomeo Platina recommended taking beetroot with garlic to nullify the effects of 'garlic-breath'.

2 medium Beet Roots peeled and cubed.
1/4 cup Toor dal
3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped/crushed
3-4 tsp Rasam powder
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/8 tsp Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
2 dry Red Chilies
1 sprig Curry leaves
Salt to taste
1 tsp Oil
1/4 cup Cilantro chopped

1. In pressure cooker boil toor dal and beet root with sufficient water for about 3 whistles.
2. In a beep sauce pan, add oil and when it's hot add mustard seeds, when they start to sputter add asafoetida, dry red chilies, cumin seeds, curry leaves and garlic.
3. Meanwhile open the pressure cooker and remove the beet root cubes and reserve it for later use in a side dish or you can make beet root cutlets out of it.
4. Now mash the dal with that beet root water and add it to the seasoning along with the rasam powder and salt as needed and bring it to medium heat and bring to a boil.
5. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice.