Growing up I hated beets. I hated them with a passion! My mom used to make us try one every single time she made beets. Today I feel sorry for my dad who also does not like beets, he probably had to pretend he liked them so that we would not give my mom a hard time…. or maybe he just did not eat them and had the excuse that he is our dad therefore he can do whatever he wants. Anyways, something magical happened while I was living in Israel. When you go out to a ‘typical’ Israeli restaurant where you can have kebabs, shnitzel, and typical Israeli food, etc they serve a bunch of little ‘salatim’ (salads) as an appetizer that you devour because you are so hungry. One of those salads is a beet salad, and I learned to LOVE beets, and you have NO idea how much I love beets! I can make a big bowl and pretty much just eat them on my own, that is why I restrain myself from buying them too often because they do have a lot of sugar.
Anyhow, my mom used to just add oil and lemon to them, but looking through a recipe book my grandma has and that I love I found a similar recipe and decided to give it a shot.
Before I give you the recipe I do want to tell you about this recipe book. The book is called: Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews. Here is the blurb from Amazon on the book:
When the Aleppian Jewish community migrated from the ancient city of Aleppo in historic Syria and settled in New York and Latin American cities in the early 20th century, it brought its rich cuisine and vibrant culture. Most Syrian recipes and traditions, however, were not written down and existed only in the minds of older generations. Poopa Dweck, a first generation Syrian–Jewish American, has devoted much of her life to preserving and celebrating her community’s centuries–old legacy.
Dweck relates the history and culture of her community through its extraordinary cuisine, offering more than 180 exciting ethnic recipes with tantalizing photos and describing the unique customs that the Aleppian Jewish community observes during holidays and lifecycle events.
It is a beautiful book, pretty much a coffee table book with great recipes. I have not gotten it yet, but I will when we move into our own place. In her book, Popa Dweck shares with us that “Beets were eaten plain in Aleppo, and it is still a common sight to see freshly peeled whole cooked beets on the lunch or dinner table.” You might not know or remember but my family on my dad’s side comes from Aleppo so this book is like my family history and food.
Here is the recipe.
- 6 Beets (2 pounds)- peeled and stems trimmed
- 1 Tbs of extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbs of ou (Tamarind paste) – Homemade or Bought
- 1 Tbs of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of Aleppo pepper (All Spice) or 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp of Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup of finely copped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 small onion chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- Put the beets in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and summer for 20 minutes, or until the beets are fork-tender.
- Drain the beets and “shock” in a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, ou (tamarind paste), cumin, Aleppo pepper, and salt in a small mixing bowl and mix well.
- Pour the dressing over the beets. Add the parsley and onions and give it a stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve.