This wild relative of beetroot and spinach grows profusely around sand dunes and on sea cliffs and arguably has a far superior flavour to all of its descendants. Its glossy oval or spear-shaped leaves are best picked in spring and summer and are especially delicious wilted in butter in a frying pan right on the beach. Only pick leaves from areas where the plant is abundant and then only a few leaves per plant.
Sea beet can be used like spinach and its robust flavour and texture make it especially good in curries, such as this delectable sea beet paneer below.
Sea Beet Paneer
• Finely chopped onion
• 1 teaspoon grated ginger
• 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 green chilli finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon coriander powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• 250g young sea beet leaves
• 250g block of paneer
1. Cut paneer in 2cm square cubes and fry in oil until golden. Set aside.
2. Fry onion until soft and golden. Add ginger, chilli and garlic and fry briefly.
3. Add dry spices and fry for
30 seconds or so to release flavour.
4. Add cubes of paneer and coat with spices.
5. Wilt sea beet into pan and add a little bit of water or yoghurt and salt for consistency and seasoning.
6. Serve with rice or puris.
Photo credit: Stockfood