Recipe & photo by Romanian Food for Foreigners
Time: 45 minutes
3-4 small beetroots
1 small horseradish root (or horseradish from a jar)
Splash of vinegar (optional – don’t use if using horseradish from a jar as it normally already contains vinegar)
Mustard seeds (optional)
Cumin seeds (optional)
1. Rinse any mud off the beetroots and put them in a saucepan (metal is best; it might stain enamel) and cover them with water.
2. Bring the water to the boil and leave to boil for 30-40 minutes.
3. Drain the now very purple boiled water from the pan and refill with cold water and allow the beetroots to cool enough to be handled.
4. Clean off the skin (you should now be able to rub it off with your fingers, but use the flat of a knife to scrape it off if you like) and trim off any roots or stem stubs.
5. Cut up the beetroots – you can grate it, julienne it, cube it, slice it…whatever you prefer.
6. In a separate bowl finely grate the horseradish. Be a bit careful here if you’ve never grated horseradish before as it’s tremendously powerful – I recommend you don’t hold your head over the bowl whilst grating it.
7. Teaspoon by teaspoon, add the horseradish to the beetroot, and taste until you reach a combination you like. Don’t just throw it all in at once because if it’s too strong it’s hard to correct. Horseradish from the jar normally isn’t as powerful as fresh horseradish so you might need a few extra teaspoons. If you have any horseradish left over, put it in a small jar with some salt and vinegar and keep it for a dressing next time you prepare some beef or lamb.
8. Check the seasoning and add some salt and a splash of vinegar if you feel it needs it.
9. You can, at this point, add some mustard seeds (about a heaped teaspoon) or a sprinkle of cumin if you like these flavors. Mustard seeds aren’t so strong but be a little careful with the cumin as it can overpower.