Earlier this week Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy debuted her latest creation: Popcorn Beets with Thai Green Curry Ranch Dressing. Cohen often creates painstakingly complex dishes for her vegetarian clientele, the likes of which we've never seen recreated in NYC despite the growing meatless menus around town. So when she introduces a new dish, you know it's going to be unique and that she's spent days in the kitchen perfecting it from the first ingredient to the plating.

A riff on popcorn shrimp (vegetarians really do enjoy creating mock versions of meat dishes), this one is not only pretty, but it packs a lot of flavor into a small bowl. Bonus: there's even a little bit of bourbon in the buttermilk.

"What makes popcorn shrimp is really the cornmeal batter on the outside," Cohen told us when we dropped by this week, "so we've done the same thing with beets. They're a little bit sweet so we wanted to add a really, really savory sauce to them." They're also roasted in salt before being battered and fried, and the end result creates a "flavor explosion," Cohen calls it, with layers of sweet and savory and flavors hitting each taste bud.

Popcorn Beets are now on the menu at Dirt Candy for $9 (gratuity included) and they will be there for "at least the next 3 months." Here's how they're made:


(Vide by Jessica Leibowitz/Gothamist)