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Spicy Carrot Coconut Curry

Passport & Plate - Spicy Carrot Coconut Curry

Sri Lanka | Thursday, 5 March 2015 | 5 photos


Ingredients
4 large carrots
1 large onion
1 green chilli
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
2 tsps chilli powder (adjust according to taste)
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsps oil
Salt to taste
A handful of fresh coriander – stalk part to be added into the curry and leaves for garnish

 

How to prepare this recipe
Peel, wash and cut carrots into 2 inched strips ( I cut a carrot into 4 parts. For each part, I sliced into half and each half I cut into 3 slices). Chop onions and a green chilli.
Add the sliced carrots with ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and chilli powder in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
Heat oil until very hot in the pan. Add chopped onions and green chilli and saute until the onions are lightly brown.
Add carrot mixture and keep tossing for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add coconut milk and water. Bring to boil and simmer with a lid on until the carrots are tender. Just before the end of cooking time (when the carrots are quite tender), add the stalk part of the coriander into the curry.
Taste the curry if more salt is required. If the curry happens to be too salty, add some sugar (brown sugar is preferred) to balance the taste.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately. Best served with rice

 

The story behind this recipe
Carrots – it’s Bugs Bunny’s favourite food and one of the few vegetables that sits well with children. To professional cooks, they are essential flavour base for stews and soup. To me, it’s one of my to-go vegetables whenever I need to bulk up my stir-fries, noodles and fried rice.

Despite carrots are my everyday ingredient, I have to admit they rarely been given star treatment in a dish – likening to the backup singers in soups and stews or the wallflowers in proms to bulk up my stir-fries. Yes, we made carrot cakes! But even with that, we grate them so finely to conceal them in batter and distract ourselves further with the finger-licking good cream cheese frosting. Oh sure, we bake baby carrots and glaze them with maple syrup or honey but these are made to complement our roast chickens and turkeys, no?

My good friend who is from Sri Lanka often makes spicy carrot coconut curry as the vegetable dish for the meal. Gradually, the dish grew on me. Never did I think that a humble ingredient like carrots can be a stand-alone dish. Never did I think that spices, coconut and carrots can be a match. In fact, these ingredients are such a good match that I think they have brought out the natural sweetness of the carrots even more. Vice versa, the tender and well simmered carrots have graciously absorbed the earthiness of cumin, coriander and turmeric, as well as the richness of coconut milk.
When a dish is done well, the recipe is a keeper. Never did I think that my everyday ingredient has become my everyday dish. Pile your rice as high as your pride as a home cook, because a spectacular vegetarian meal is simply a ladle away.

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