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Delicious, nutritious and underrated: top Dubai chef on why beetroot is best

Delicious, nutritious and underrated: top Dubai chef on why beetroot is best
Copyright  euronews
By Evan Bourke

As people everywhere are following World Heath Organization advice to stay at home to help battle the spread of COVID-19, many are using this extra time to get creative in the kitchen.

Looking for inspiration for new recipes and ingredients, Euronews spoke to Chef Stinnissen, who runs one of Dubai’s most well-known restaurants – Boca.

“One of my favourite vegetables is beetroot, because I grew up with that and I just loved the freshness, that earthy flavour, how pure it is, the colour.

Chef Stinissen applies cooking techniques normally used on beef to beetroot. Braising the beetroot brings out some unique flavours from the vegetable and it is how his popular ‘MeatRoot’ dish garnered its name.

Vegetables such as beetroot have not grown naturally in the desert region before. Growing beetroot in extreme heat has brought different characteristics to the vegetable compared to their European counterparts.

“It's very nutritious as well,” adds Stinissen. “We smoke it and we make a puree. We'll make a powder just to highlight how beautiful a vegetable it can be.”

Stay home, learn to cook

Across the globe, people are sharpening their culinary skills with recipes and online tutorials but Stinnissen says that no one recipe will come out the same:

“Everybody has their own signature, their own handwriting. The same goes for a chef. I can give my recipes to someone else, 100% they will do something else with that”.

How one chef cuts a carrot may vary from the next chef. Similarly, the choice of ingredients for a recipe may change according to a chef's palate and ethos.

Whether it's beef from Brazil, or coffee from Kenya, transporting these food items internationally causes high levels of emissions, so produce with a small carbon footprint is becoming increasingly popular as it has less impact on global warming.

In Boca, patrons can enjoy a menu that is made from almost 90% of local seafood and vegetables.

“I always say like if it’s good, it’s local – I’m going to do something with it,”

Many types of food that are not native to the Emirates are now sustainably grown locally. Yazen Al Kodmani, an Operations Manager for a local farm, explains: "The idea is you are trying to find what is seasonally available. What I can cook with? If you are doing that you end up eating fresh, you end up eating more nutritious food, and you end up reducing your carbon footprint as the food you’re eating hasn’t travelled thousands of kilometres.”