Nina Wong’s Southeast Indian Beet Relish

Lori Writer / Heavy Table
Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Chef Nina Wong of ChinDian Cafe in Minneapolis, MN tells the Heavy Table that if you want to cook with the seasons, “Cook with an open mind. Do not be afraid of trying spices and sauces from other parts of the world.” Wong’s Southeast Indian Beet Relish is a gentle introduction to cooking with curry leaves, a common ingredient in Southeast Indian cuisine, for those unfamiliar with them.

Wong says: “This beet recipe goes well as a side with anything! I think it would be great with turkey! Besides that, it is great just the way it is or with rice.”

Southeast Indian Beet Relish
Serves 4

3 lbs beets
2 dried red chilies
1 tbsp mustard seeds
5-7 curry leaves
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt


  1. Peel, then julienne, beets.
  2. Over medium heat, pour oil in a saute pan.
  3. Add dried chilies, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Fry until it releases a fragrant aroma.
  4. Add cut beets and salt and cook until beets are limp.


For dried red chilies:

Shuang Hur Oriental Market
2710 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408

For curry leaves:

CurryUp Foods
13601 Grove Dr
Maple Grove, MN 55311

Little India (formerly Patel Groceries) gets curry leaves, fresh, every Friday
1835 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

United Noodles Asian Supermarket occasionally has them. Consider phoning ahead.
2015 E 24th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Nina Wong’s Salsa Soup recipe


  1. Amy

    India Spice House in Eden Prairie also has fresh curry leaves, although it’s good to call ahead, as they don’t always have them every day (but they frequently do, I’ve picked them up several times). They also carry dried red chilies.

  2. Abir Roy

    Little India was Patel Grocers before. After a split, Patel is in Bloomington and they renamed this store Little India. They have a store called Super Meat Market, where they will sell you EXPIRED frozen stuff. Once you bring it home and thaw, your neighbor will run out of their home because of the stink it raises. It is frozen AND ROTTEN.
    I challenge you to find anything in that fish store ( or with most food items they sell in their grocery store) that has expiry dates printed. YOU WON’T FIND IT.
    We had the same experience. We bought some totally rotten ( but frozen rohu fish). And once we came back, they refused to exchange and refund. Their excuse: I didn’t bring the bad fish soon enough for them to resell it to some other (unfortunate) customer. What a logic. They qualify for the 2012 Presidential Debate, hands down.
    We have been a customer with them for 10+ years. Once the owner Nayeem (the only sensible guy in the whole store) is not in the store, his brain-dead brothers deal with the customers with Iron Fist, and speak to them once in a while, as and when they get a chance to catch their breath from incessant Paan Chewing.
    A disgrace in the name of business.

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