During winter ma always used to make a beet dessert, which I have been craving lately. A fellow blogger posted her beetroot halwa recipe earlier this month and that heightened my craving. Beets are in season now and I bought a beautiful bunch of beets from the farmers’ market on Saturday. I called ma today for the recipe. She learned the recipe from my grandmother, who used to make this beet-payesh(payasam) for my ma and my aunt, she said. She explained that I need to boil the milk first, with a bay leaf and a few cardamoms, and then add the grated beet along with a handful of raisins. In a separate pan I would have to dry roast three teaspoons of semolina and then add a teaspoon of ghee to it. Once the milk had thickened and the beet cooked, I would have to add sugar and the semolina to it and cook for just a couple more minutes.
I love how a beet transfuses its color to anything and everything, be it your fingertips, the chopping board or to the other ingredients in your recipe. While making this dessert today, the evaporated milk I used turned into a beautiful hue of pink once I added the grated beet. By the time I was done cooking the intensity of the color had reached a mesmerizing height.
I remember ma often used to serve this dessert warm and it was perfect for those pleasant winter evenings in Kolkata.
Here I can almost feel a nip in the air at dawn these days, a herald of autumn.