Made throughout the Balkans and Russia and Turkey, this side dish can be eaten alone or spread on pita bread. Make it a few hours ahead, and let it sit at room temperature to allow the flavors to mellow and meld. Use precooked beets (available in the refrigerated section of the produce department), or roast them. To roast beets, trim stems to one inch, and wash and place on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender. Trim off 1/4 inch of beet roots, and rub off skins.
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 small)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 cups finely chopped, precooked beets (such as Melissa's)
How to Make It
Combine first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
I have made phkali several times and this is a great base recipe. Here are my tweaks: I like to saute the onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil to soften the flavors. I've also used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, with great results. I've also tossed the beets in the food processor to make a dip/spread for a party and served with lavash. And finally, I think this tastes best after sitting in the fridge for a day.
Although slightly biased because I am not a beet fan, I figured that I would try a new recipe for beets to see if my tastes have changed. I made this recipe and could not stand it. My suggestion for anyone preparing to make this, if you are not a beet fan, do not make it.
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