When it comes to the numerous and different ways in which an ingredient can be cooked, the humble carrots are undeniably one of the most multifaceted foods. This vivid orange root vegetable with a crispy texture possesses an intrinsically sweet taste which can be subdued by cooking, adding condiments, that makes it ideal to be incorporated into umpteen dishes. Be it a delightful carrot cake, creamy carrot soup, decadent carrot halwa or freshly grated carrot salad, the list of much-loved recipes with this ubiquitous bounty is endless. Moreover, not only are carrots a flavourful and easy to cook vegetable, they are also chock-full of valuable nutrients to foster overall wellbeing.
Carrots Nutrition And Health Benefits:
Touted for their high vitamin A and carotenoid content, carrots enrich eye health and prevent vision-linked disorders such as AMD, glaucoma, cataract later on in life. Adding a moderate portion of carrots to the regular diet delivers calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin K, which help maintain sturdy bones and flexible, active joints. In addition, they comprise noteworthy levels of potassium to lower high blood pressure, aside from vitamin C, vitamin B6 for uplifted disease resistance, brain health and nervous system activity. Carrots are also blessed with several powerful antioxidant compounds like lycopene and anthocyanins which avert the onset of cancer, rejuvenate skin texture and decrease the risk of obtaining chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
Tasty And Healthy Desi Carrot Recipes:
No doubt, carrots are a superfood delivering excellent wellness incentives, while also lending a yummy taste and crunchy texture to a host of dishes. So wait no more, stock up on carrots and get set cooking these customary desi recipes from the diverse expanse of the Indian subcontinent. Carrot Mezhukkupuratti – a Kerala style carrot stir fry and Gajar Gobi Shalgam Achaar – a khatta meetha i.e. sweet and sour pickle with carrots, cauliflower, turnips from Punjabi cuisine, to relish with meals and augment overall health.
Kerala Style Carrot Mezhukkupuratti
2 large carrots
1 green chilli, cut into pieces
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 small onions, sliced
1 small piece ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, cut into bits
Salt, as per taste
A bunch of curry leaves
Wash the carrots thoroughly, remove the skin, cut off the edges and slice them into medium length thin pieces vertically.
Heat water in a kadai, add the chopped carrots along with salt, green chillies, turmeric powder and cook for 5 minutes in required amount of water covering with a lid so the carrots become a bit soft.
In a pan, heat coconut oil on medium flame, add mustard seeds and once they pop, put in the onions, ginger, garlic, curry leaves along with red chilli powder and salt and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes.
Transfer the cooked carrots to this tempered mix, cook for 2 more minutes and then turn off the stovetop.
Savour the zesty Kerala style carrot mezhukkupuratti with sambar rice, rasam rice or curd rice for a wholesome meal at lunch.
Carrots are a storehouse of vitamin A, besides carotenoid antioxidants – lutein, zeaxanthin, which enhance eyesight for healthy vision. Packed with the potent phytonutrient capsaicin, green chillies effectively lower the risk of cancer, while onions abound in dietary fibres to uplift digestion and gut health.
Punjabi Gajar Gobi Shalgam Achaar
5 – 7 large carrots, washed, peeled and cut
1 big cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets
2 medium-sized turnips, washed, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp rock salt i.e. sendha namak
½ tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
3 tbsp crushed ginger – garlic mix
½ cup vinegar
2 cups mustard oil
Boil water in a wide vessel and blanch the cut carrots, cauliflower and turnips separately by heating in hot water then cooling in ice and set aside.
Soak the excess water in a tissue and allow the blanched vegetables to dry out in the sun for 1 day.
In a pan, dry roast the mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds so they become slightly brown with an alluring aroma.
Allow the roasted spices to cool down completely, then grind them in a mixer so as to obtain a coarse blend.
In a vessel, slightly warm the vinegar along with the ground spice mix and in another pan, heat mustard oil, transfer the ginger garlic paste and cook for 10 minutes until the raw smell fades.
In a deep dish, combine the dried carrots, cauliflower, turnips with the vinegar-spice powder mix and the mustard oil-ginger garlic paste blend.
Add rock salt/sendha namak, red chilli powder and once it cools down, store in an airtight jar using a clean spoon.
Place the jar under the sun for 3 – 4 days to let the mixture ferment completely and then enjoy the piquant gajar gobi shalgam achaar as a side dish for paratha, roti or rice.
Carrots supply ample soluble and insoluble fibres which satiate appetite and control untimely and unhealthy food cravings, while also being rich in calcium, vitamin K to strengthen bones, joints. Bestowed with vitamins B1, B2, B3, cauliflower ensures optimal metabolism for energy needs and digestive processes. Turnips contain vast reserves of vitamin C to augment immunity, as well as vitamin B6 to elevate nervous system functioning and brain power.