Beetroot & Coconut Curry

A dry vegetable curry which balances sweet coconut flavours with aromatic spices and some heat. This Dairy-free and Paleo recipe is made with coconut milk.

Beetroot & Coconut Curry

Beetroot and coconut might sound like an unusual flavour combination to European tastes. We tend to pair beetroot with savoury ingredients like capers and walnuts, to bring out the earthy notes. However, beetroot is also one of our sweetest vegetables, which is why it is often used in baking, such as the well-known ‘red velvet’ chocolate and beetroot cake. The sweet-sweet flavour combination of beetroot and coconut is quite delightful, although it means that you may need to add more chilli to this curry than you think to balance the sweetness. This is a dry curry, which can be served as a vegetarian main, or as a vegetable side dish.

cooking time
Beetroot & Coconut Curry


  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 2 onions (260g), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • thumb-sized piece of root ginger (30g), peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3/4 cup (75g) desiccated coconut
  • 200ml (1/2 can) coconut milk
  • 3 large beetroot (500g), peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 large butternut squash (800g), peeled, deseeded and chopped into 2cm cubes


  1. Fry the aromatics. Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole / deep-sided saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and cook until the onion is lightly brown, stirring occasionally – about 8 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the garlic and ginger. Fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Fry the spices. Add the mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add the cumin seeds, chilli flakes and curry leaves, and fry for 1 minute. Add the turmeric and chilli powder and fry for 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the desiccated coconut and coconut milk and stir until blended. Cook until the oil starts to separate – about 3-5 minutes (it is important not to rush this stage, as it develops flavour and stops the spices from tasting raw).
  5. Cook the beetroot. Add the grated beetroot and stir until evenly coated in the spice mix. Turn the heat up to medium, cover with a lid, and cook until mostly tender but retaining a bit of crunch – about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally, and sprinkle with water if it starts to stick. When done, turn off the heat.
  6. Cook the butternut squash. Meanwhile, put the butternut squash in a steaming pan over a medium heat. Steam for 10 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain into a colander and leave to steam dry until needed.
  7. Once both vegetables are cooked, add the butternut squash to the beetroot and stir until fully blended. Transfer into a serving dish and serve hot.



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