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This recipe was featured in Episode 6 of Season 3 of the PBS show Lucky Chow. The host (and one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met), Danielle Chang, asked me to cook a recipe together with her—specifically, a recipe to promote beautiful skin. It was such an honor to be featured in this episode. From chatting with Danielle, to cooking at Divya’s Kitchen, to applying edible turmeric mask on our faces, we had fun.

Click here to view the Lucky Chow Season 3, Episode 6, entitled Food As Beauty.

Is there a connection between the food you eat and the glow of your skin? Yes, absolutely! Ayurveda describes skin disorders in great detail, and a lot of them start with poor digestion. You’ve probably noticed a pimple or skin dryness manifesting when you’re constipated, when you eat certain foods, or when you’re dehydrated.

Ayurveda also speaks about three types of beauty: outer (rupam), inner (gunam), and spiritual (vayastag). True beauty radiates when the light of your soul shines, spreading positive qualities and deeds all around.

This bitterly delicious and colorful dish is tridoshic. It helps flush sludge from the liver and gallbladder and supports healthy bile production, which in turn helps with optimal digestion. A healthy liver and bile sift and drive out toxins. Broccoli rabe and beets also act as blood purifies and blood builders. Clean blood = clean skin. To add to the glow, I use saffron almonds as a garnish. Saffron is the number one herb used in Ayurveda to enhance overall complexion. Cultured ghee benefits by moisturizing the skin from within. Ghee increases ojas (linked to vitality)—that natural glow that no skin product can produce.

Another bonus of this recipe: it helps reduce sugar cravings!

Serves 4  Prep: 5 to 10 minutes Cook: about 20 minutes Gluten free; Dairy free


2 teaspoons coriander seeds

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 + 2 teaspoons ghee, sesame oil, or olive oil

½ teaspoon kalonji seeds

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ + 3/4 teaspoons salt

2 small or 1 medium red beet, peeled and shaved thin into rounds or wedges (about 2 cups; See Notes)

1 tablespoon slivered fresh ginger

1 green Thai chile, seeded and minced (optional; omit for high Pitta)

1 medium bunch broccoli rabe: bottom stems discarded, upper stems thinly sliced, leaves chopped into 1-inch strips (about 5 cups)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon (a small pinch) saffron threads, crushed

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

  1. Grind the coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds to a powder in a spice grinder.
  1. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the ghee and the kalonji seeds and toast for about 5 seconds, until the seeds release their aroma, then add the turmeric, 1 teaspoon of the ground spice blend, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Toast for 5 more seconds, then add the beets. Mix well, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the beets are soft. If the vegetables begin to brown and stick to the pan, splash in a little water. Transfer the cooked beets to a bowl and set aside, covered.

  1. Wipe clean the same skillet (or use a different pan) and heat 2 teaspoons ghee over medium heat. Add the ginger and chile. Toast for about 10 seconds, until the ginger crisps up, then add the remaining ground spice blend and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Fold in the broccoli rabe, cover, and cook for about 2­ minutes, until the greens wilt. Continue to cook uncovered, tossing frequently until the broccoli rabe is soft yet still vibrant green, about 5 minutes.

  1. Turn off the heat and sprinkle both the beets and the rabe with pepper and lime.

  1. To make the saffron almonds garnish: In a small frying pan or a metal measuring cup, heat 1 teaspoon water over medium-low heat. Add the saffron strands and toast for 5 seconds, until they release their yellow color. Add the slivered almonds and shake and toast for a minute or so, until the water evaporates and the almonds become crisp and golden.
  1. To assemble: Lay the broccoli rabe in a serving dish of your choice, top with the beets, and garnish with the saffron almonds. Or mix the rabe and beets together and garnish with the almonds. Serve immediately.

NOTES

Caution: Broccoli rabe is detoxifying—do not eat it if you’re pregnant or nursing.

To shave the beets: A mandoline or a spiralizer make thinly slicing vegetables very easy.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Absolute Beauty, by Pratima Raichur and Marian Cohn (Harper Collins, 1997).

Eat Beautiful: Food and Recipes to Nourish Your Skin from the Inside Out, by Wendy Rowe (Clarckson Potter, 2016).