Thursday, 28 May 2015

Carrots, Moroccan Style

Dear all,

Carrots are a gift of nature and I could not live – or cook – without them. You can find them almost anywhere anytime; they burst with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and they taste wonderful.

Whenever I can, I hide carrots in food. You will find them in my tomato sauce, in burgers of any kind and various recipes with legumes.

This month I would like to feature a recipe where carrots play the hero: carrots Moroccan style. This is a light, nutritious side dish, ready in a few minutes, yet it offers a strong flavour profile that can complement many different main dishes.
Just recently I paired them with a spinach pie at a vegetarian dinner and I dare say my guests enjoyed them. They also go well with any kind of chicken or fish dish.

The Moroccan style in the name refers to the spice mix: ground cumin, cinnamon and chilli powder combine with garlic and parsley to underline the sweetness of the carrots. It is surprising how well cumin and cinnamon go together. Together they transform each other, a typical example where the sum of two ingredients creates a bigger whole.

Another advantage is the fact that you these carrots taste warm or cold. You can prepare them in advance when you host a dinner party and just warm them up for a few minutes in the oven or a microwave – or just serve them cold as they are.

Wishing you happy cooking, always!

Kornelia Santoro with family

(for 4 servings) 
  • 6 big carrots
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 2 big garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 50 ml water
Wash the parsley. Flat leaf parsley tastes much better than curly one but sometimes it is difficult to find. If you cannot buy flat leaf parsley, use curly one.

 Clean and crush the garlic. To stabilize the healthy ingredients in garlic you need to expose it to air for five to 10 minutes. After this time the heart protecting nutrients of garlic are resistant to heat.
 Peel the carrots. I use a peeler, but if you want you can also scrape them or just brush them.

peeling carrots Halve the carrots lengthwise and cut them diagonally to get nicely shaped pieces.
cutting carrots
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the ground cumin, chilli and cinnamon. Let them sizzle for about one minute to activate their aromatic oils.
spices sizzling in oil
Add the chopped carrots and the crushed garlic and mix everything well. Add a bit of water, around 50 ml or so. You don’t need a lot of water; just enough to create a little steam and prevent the carrots from burning.
carrots with garlic in pan
Close the pan and let the carrots cook for five to ten minutes, depending how you like them. I prefer mine with a bit of bite, so around seven minutes cooking is usually fine for me.
carrots with parsley and spices
Towards the end of the cooking time, season the carrots with salt and pepper and add the chopped parsley. If the taste of the spices is not strong enough, add some more ground cumin, cinnamon and/or chillies.

Before serving, squeeze the lemons over the carrots to add some zing. I prefer my carrots without lemon juice though.