In the pink
There is a reason why the carrot is not taken seriously as a vegetable. Maybe it doesn’t approve of being cooked—in fact it seems to question why, like it were a fruit or something and is affronted by thermal violence. Personally I have always noticed that carrots in subzis or gravies always looked like afterthoughts—or at best a filler. If you must cook it, try the recipe in the box, its soothing and total comfort food material.
The carrot is however, happy to be chomped, grated, chopped into rounds or turned into those weird florets you often see in salad decors at gauche buffets.
Then there is this whole divide between the slim, slender pink ones with the real juice, and the short, orange fatties who have the meat, and make great candidates for soups or even our indigenous gajar ka halwa. I prefer the former, even though they just finish before you even start on them. They just have more attitude, me thinks.
I like mine raw, washed, but not necessarily peeled. I think it is unnecessary and too much work. Just as I think juicing a carrot is. When we were growing up, there was this whole big deal on carrots and your eyes at some of my friend’s houses. My parents, I think, took their gene pool and our good vision for granted, so there was never any of that spiel. But mom would regularly grate them, and throw some lemon juice and a chilly or two into it with a hing and rai tadka and it worked great for us. Who gave a damn about beta carotene anyway. She also made this amazing carrot pickle in a lime-mustard and chilly marinade that was out-of-this-world. Must tell the mother to send me a consignment of the same pronto, as I suddenly have cravings and cannot seem to focus on anything else.
But more than anything, there is a visual aesthetic about carrots that perhaps soothes the eyes—the orange pink bodies, the green leaves, the barely-there to robust fibre on their bodies. I don’t think Pankaj Kapur would have looked good chomping on anything else other than a carrot. And I still think carrot cake (especially the one at Moshe’s and Theobroma) is the best thing to happen to desserts, at least for those (like me) who believe chocolate is seriously overrated.
Sautéed carrots in pepper
Method: Slice carrots into rounds. In a pan, heat some olive oil, and throw the carrots into it. Cook on high flame for a minute, uncovered, and then cover it and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as an accompaniment to anything.
Carrots – 200 gms
Milk – ½ litre
Sugar – 100 gms
Almonds – 8 -10
Cashews – 8- 10
Elaichi powder – ½ tsp
Soak the almonds in hot water to peel the skin quickly.
Now grind the peeled almonds and cashews to a fine paste by adding little milk. Set aside.
Peel and chop carrots and pressure cook with little water. Cool and grind to a fine paste, adding sugar to it. Now cook the carrot paste for some time in the milk, stirring and adding more milk as required. To this, add the ground almond and cashew paste. Cook for a minute and switch off gas. Add elaichi powder, mix well, cool, refrigerate and have it chilled.