Empty fridges and unexpected guests, pink slush and the 100th name of Allah

“Melted strawberry ice-cream with biryani? Are you sure?” was the politely phrased question from a neighbour who actually must have wanted to tell me I was outta my mind! The family, of course, had no such compunctions – “pink slush – GROSS!!” was their reaction. I, the only one who knew the truth about the pink slush, smirked like the camel, the only one who knows the hundredth name of Allah!
Having unexpected guests and being caught out with an empty fridge has happened to all of us, I guess. This time, I really was in trouble as all I had was frozen peas and a couple of beetroots along with staples like onions The peas and onions I could easily convert into a simple biryani or pulao but the beetroots? And what do I serve with the peas pulao? More peas? Not likely! Also, I was unlikely to have guests like my daughter whose standard order in any restaurant till she was about six was “Peppi and Peas pulao” (Pepsi and Peas pulao), which she proceeded to demolish without any need of accompaniments!
So there we  are – one large bowl of yogurt and 2 rather shriveled beetroots staring me in the face… inspiration strikes! Beetroot raita is born!
Beetroot raita
Beetroots – boiled – 2 (they don’t have to be shriveled)! Grate finely.
Yogurt – 2 cups
Green chili – 1 – chop very, very fine or pound to a paste – mind you wear glasses if you’re pounding – i’ve had them fly into my eye and make a 10-minute dish into a hopping half hour of agony!
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp
Chopped mint or coriander or what the heck, let’s go to town – use both – to garnish!
Whip yogurt and mix in everything else – chill and serve – either as a side with a rice dish or as a dip for chips. C’est tout! Watch the wary looks change to pleasure at the mustard-y, silky dip with the bite of the chili!