This is a delicious, healthy side dish for Indian or non-Indian entrees. If you do not enjoy the heat of chilis, simply omit the jalapeno or hot sauce. The dish is still perfectly delicious.
Traditional Chukandar Sabji uses both beets and fresh beet greens, calls for cumin seeds, and is cooked long enough for the raw beets to cook thoroughly. This recipe calls for items more readily found in American supermarkets and spice cabinets. Using cooked or canned beets makes it very quick to throw together.
In a medium skillet with lid or other heavy lidded pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add chopped shallot and saute briefly, about 1 minute. (Optionally add the minced jalapeno or hot sauce and cook with the shallot.)
Add the garlic and ginger and saute and additional minute.
Add the turmeric and cumin and saute a third minute.
Cube the beets and chop the spinach. (See notes below.) Add to the skillet and stir to thoroughly mix ingredients.
Turn heat to very low, cover and allow to cook an additional to 10 minutes to meld flavors.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve warm as a vegetable side dish.
NOTE ON BEETS: The easiest way to cook fresh beets is to trim, wash, and wrap them in foil, place in a foil lined dish, and bake in a medium oven (300F to 400F) until a fork easily pokes through the beet. The cooked beets, still in their foil, may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before using. When ready to use the beets, slough off the skin under running water and cut off any remaining stem and root ends.
NOTE ON SPINACH: Raw spinach may be added directly to the pan but it is easier to chop when its size is reduced by microwaving. If fresh bunch spinach is used, discard stems and wash leaves thoroughly before cooking. Thawed and drained frozen spinach may be substituted for the pre-washed bag of spinach.