Carrots are among the most popular and consumed vegetables in India. They are also one of the most versatile and adaptable vegetables, making them a mainstay in Indian cuisine.
Whether served raw as a side to other dishes or cooked as a side dish or dessert, carrots can be incorporated into almost any type of meal. In fact, the Indians have found so many different ways to incorporate this root vegetable that it’s hard to think of another food that even comes close to being as versatile as carrots.
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That being said, there is definitely an argument as to why carrots are the most versatile vegetable in Indian cuisine, at least when it comes to their use in dishes across the country. Read on to learn more!
How old is the carrot?
The carrot is a root vegetable that originated in Asia and is believed to have been cultivated for over 5,000 years. Today, carrots are grown all over the world, but India is one of its largest producers. In fact, India is the world’s second largest producer of carrots, after China. In terms of health benefits, carrots have been said to help prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, prevent cardiovascular disease, treat eye disorders, and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. When it comes to flavor, carrots are naturally sweet, with earthy and aromatic undertones. They are typically eaten raw as a snack or garnish, or cooked as a vegetable accompaniment to other dishes.
How are carrots used in Indian cooking?
Carrots are used in a large number of Indian dishes and recipes, making them one of the most essential ingredients in Indian cooking. Here are some dishes that are made all over India with carrots as the main ingredient.
Curry: Carrots are commonly used in Indian curries and garnishes. In fact, it’s hard to find a curry dish in India that doesn’t include carrots. In South Indian cuisine, it is common to use carrots in sambar and rasam dishes. Similarly, in North Indian cuisine, carrots are abundant in curry dishes. In the state of Punjab, for example, it is common to add carrots to vegetable curries.
Gajar ka Halwa – A delicious sweet dessert, gajar ka halwa is perhaps the most popular way to use carrots in Indian cooking. In this dish, carrots are cooked with milk, sugar and ghee (clarified Indian butter) and served as a sweet garnish.
Carrot Soup: As winter approaches, make a hearty carrot soup to keep you and your family warm. This vegan soup is made with fresh, sweet orange carrots, along with a combination of sautéed onions, garlic, and warm cumin.
Carrot Porriyal: Carrot Porriyal is a dry stir-fried preparation made with grated carrots and seasoned with spices, herbs and coconut.
Pickles – Although not a common way to use carrots in modern Indian cooking, carrots are also an ingredient in many Indian pickles. To make a homemade carrot pickle, you need fresh carrots, green chilies, ginger, pickle spice, sugar, and tamarind. Be sure to cut the carrot slices thick so they don’t get mushy when cooked.
Salads and Garnishes – Carrots can also be used in a wide range of garnishes in Indian cuisine. Chop carrots into sticks or slices and serve as a side to curries or other garnishes. Alternatively, boil or steam the carrots and serve with butter or ghee-based sauce.
Gajar ka bharta – A simple and delicious way to use carrots in Indian cooking is to shred them and serve as a side dish with rice or rotis. Use boiled and shredded carrots and tomato puree to make this dish. Heat some oil and add the cumin seeds. Fry the onions, then add the tomato and carrot paste and fry for a while. Season with salt and spices and enjoy.
Carrot Dal – This unusual but delicious combination of dal and carrots is popular in India. In particular, it is a common dish in the southern part of India. To make it you need two types of lentils that are cooked with ginger, garlic and carrots. Have it with rice or roti for a complete meal.
Carrot Raita: Raita is a popular Indian dish that is prepared with yogurt, vegetables, or other ingredients. The carrot raita is a delicious and tasty alternative to the traditional yogurt dish.
Carrot Fritters – Fritters are a popular snack and a common way to use carrots. To make them, combine the grated carrots, scallions, ground cumin, ground coriander, fresh coriander, salt, and garlic in a bowl. Add a beaten egg and the flour, and combine well. Fry dollops of them to make a tasty snack.
Chocolate Carrot Cake – Incorporate carrots into your regular chocolate cake to enhance it and impress guests. All you need to make this delicious cake are carrots, sugar, oil, cocoa powder, baking powder, and eggs. Add the grated carrot pieces to your cake batter and bake as normal.