Once you have your pantry set up for cooking Indian food regularly, recipes with long lists of ingredients are no longer terrifying. The reason that some recipes seem to have a kitchen-bench full of ingredients is that many of them are small amounts, less than a teaspoon. These spices produce the characteristic tastes of Indian food. For example, not counting the spices, this dish has only 3 main ingredients – carrots, coconut and onions. There, that seems much simpler than a list of 15!
The best way to approach long lists of spices is to prepare them before you begin to cook, using tiny bowls or containers to hold them. Alternatively, grab a couple of dabbas, Indian spice boxes, from your Indian shop, so that your commonly used spices are all in one container. Either method will eliminate your need to search the cupboard for a spice while cooking – and the panic that ensues when you can’t find it and the onions are over cooking as you search. We have all been there! So be organised, both in your spice cupboard and in preparing your ingredients.
This is a simple recipe today, despite the list of ingredients – a quick stir-fry of carrots with spices and coconut from the South of India. Poriyals embody the South, and can be made with many different vegetables and vegetable combinations.
Carrot Poriyal | Stir-fried Carrot with Coconut
500g carrots, peeled and diced uniformly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 green chillies, cut into chunks
0.25 tspn turmeric
1 tspn cumin powder
0.25 tspn Indian chilli powder
50g grated coconut, use fresh or frozen
2 Tblspn ghee
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn urad dal
1 tspn fennel seeds
2 Indian dried red chillies
15 – 20 curry leaves
pinch asafoetida powder
Heat the ghee in a kadhai or pan and add the mustard seeds. When they have popped, add the urad dal, and, as it turns golden, add the fennel seeds and dried chillies and saute until the chillies brown. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida powder.
Now add the onions and green chillies and saute until the onions are golden brown. Add the carrots and mix in well, allowing them to stir-fry for a minute. Add the turmeric, cumin and chilli powders, a little salt, and 0.5 cups water.
Cover the pan and cook until the carrot is tender and the moisture has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add the grated coconut, mix well and stir over high heat for about 2 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.