Friday, March 11, 2011

Made For Each Other, Carrots In Coconut Milk

   The first thing most people don't think about when it comes to carrots is coconut milk. Cinnamon, check. Cardamom, check. Nutmeg, check. Almost anything, check. But, coconut milk? Not really. Carrots have a reputation for being sweet, which was one reason they weren't a big favorite of mine growing up. Too many helpings of mashed carrots with cinnamon, butter or grated orange zest, sent me running from this vegetable. I am not an icky sweet girl.
   Coconut milk also has a rep for sweetness and richness, and carrots are a sugary tasting vegetable and why the hell would anyone want to put these two things together? I mean if we were talking Match Dot Com people here, there'd be "hair on the walls" as a cop friend of mine used to say. But you know how all those romantic comedies or rom-coms, as we call them go. She's all kittens and butterflies and you complete me, and he's all gruff and grumpy and they hate each other and would almost kill each other, and then suddenly they're trapped in an elevator or something and all those contradictions go out the window and we see what we never saw before, that they are made for each other. Well, that's kind of the way it works with carrots and coconut milk, except without the Renee Zelwegger/ Sandra Bullock factor.
   I really didn't intend to serve this dish at my Oscar Party Indian Banquet, but I found some carrots at the farmers' market and they were cheap and well, I just had to have them. And then on the day of the dinner, I wasn't in a cauliflower state of mind and I saw those carrots, and well... I had to cook them.
   The dish I made is a Sri Lankan recipe that originally is made with beets. In fact here's the recipe for that version here. But as I learned, the same recipe can be used with carrots also. Actually, this isn't any great discovery. Most vegetable dishes can be twisted upside down inside out and made to adapt to whatever you're trying to cook. So about those carrots...

Carrots In Coconut Milk

Here's what to do:
Peel and julienne slice 2 lbs of carrots, then set them aside.
 In a skillet or kadhai heat 1 Tbs of sesame oil.
When the oil is nice and hot toss in:
  4 curry leaves
 2 Tbs of finely chopped, seeded green serrano or jalapeno chilies
 3 Tbs of finely chopped shallots
 Stir them around for about 3 minutes or so then add in the carrots
 2 tsps of rice vinegar
 1 tsp of salt
 1/4 tsp of sugar
Stir everything up again for another 2 or 3 minutes or so.
Meanwhile mix together:
 1/2 cup of coconut milk
 1/4 cup of water
And pour it all into the pan with the carrots.
Bring the whole thing to a boil, then pop a lid on it and turn down the heat to simmer. Let it all cook together till the carrots are ready in about 20 minutes or so.
When everything is nice and tender stir in:
 1/4 cup of coconut milk
 4 curry leaves
Bring it all up to a boil again, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
Check it all for seasoning. If you want, you might sprinkle a little coarse sea salt over the dish, scatter a bit of chopped fresh cilantro over the top and serve it up.
   So there you have it, a creamy dreamy romance of carrots and coconut milk that will make even a fairly hardened carrot shunner (me) actually enjoy this vegetable.
   Meanwhile, the waffle saga continues.This weekend I'll be trying a new recipe for coconut flour waffles and this one has pumpkin! After that I'll be doing a give away of some of Tropical Traditions' great organic coconut flour, so follow along on Twitter @kathygori 


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