But before my afternoon off came (as I type this I'm on day 25 of no-days-off), I found myself skimming through Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. If you haven't snuggled up with this book yet, I highly recommend it. She combines recipes from India, China, Japan, and Middle Eastern Countries into one luscious volume full of tempting recipes, many of them naturally gluten-free or easily modified. I was intrigued by her version of Indian-spiced Carrot Cake. Among the typical carrot cake ingredients was the surprising cardamom, ghee, and pistachios. My mind put the two recipes together, using the carrot dip to host the complex flavors of cardamom, pistachios, ghee, and my own addition of walnuts.
cardamom. As I've mentioned on my blog in a Saturday Spice Spotlight post, cardamom is known for aiding in digestion, assisting with the functions of the bladder and kidneys, and is good for stress relief. It's taste is spicy-sweet, and is a popular component in chai tea. I've also read somewhere where it was described as having tones of eucalyptus and lemon, and also have heard people describe it's flavor as being akin to Fruit Loops. But I enjoy it.
I was a bit nervous about combining the onions with the more sweet flavors of cardamom and pistachios, but it ended up tasting delicious. I used this dip to stuff mushrooms, and then put a couple of dallops of it on top of a big bowl of kitchari. It was so good, that I made it again, substituting the onions with fennel (which my onion-less friend Jasmin may approve of a bit more). The fennel flavor felt like a classic combination with the carrots, and it turned out tasting pretty great too -- but I liked the onion version best. One of my favorite things about this dip was the way the raisins absorbed the flavor and liquid and became super juicy and plump. Each bite was full of their bursts of flavor.
Sweet and Savory Carrot Dip
inspired by Madhur Jaffrey and Rob Dobson
- 6 medium sized carrots, chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts