Friday, 28 October 2011
Coconut and Curry Carrot Puree
To me there's something elegant about purees. They seem to go with posh meals in fancy restaurants. . . elevating common vegetables to the status of gourmet foods.
Or maybe it's just the thrill of being able to legitimately eat what smacks of baby food, tweaked a little and promoted to sophisticated adult status.
(Transporting us back to the comfort foods of childhood.)
And if you can't, even regular carrots will be transformed to something magical in this comforting autumn side dish. If you don't have the time or the inclination to make the garnish, the carrot puree is quite wonderful on its own, as a side dish with pork or chicken. It's a quick everyday way to serve carrots. The delicate coconut flavour shines through and spooning up the soft puree is addictive.
However, if you add the garnish, the whole dish pops. The added flavours and texture of the crisped onions and pumpkin seeds make the subtle coconut and carrots sing.
Definitely good enough for company.
Coconut Curry Carrot Puree with a Pumpkin Seed Garnish
2 lbs. (900 to 1000gms) peeled carrots (start with more, to account for the lost weight of the peels)
3/4 to 1 cup (180-240mls) canned coconut milk (stirred first)
1 tsp. (5ml) curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. (15ml) coconut oil or butter
1 cup (240ml) chopped onion, (1 small onion)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds,
1 tsp. nigella seeds, or black sesame seeds, or regular sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) cumin
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) curry powder
1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) salt
sprinkle of cayenne
*nigella seeds are available at East Indian grocery stores
Cut the peeled carrots into large chunks and put into a saucepan. Add about 1/2" (1cm) water to the bottom. (If your carrots aren't really sweet, you can cheat by adding 1 tsp (5ml) sugar to the water.) Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Drain the carrots (don't wash the pot yet) and put into a food processor with 3/4 cup (180mls) coconut milk, curry powder and salt. Puree til smooth. Depending on the moisture in your carrots, add the remaining 1/4 cup (40mls) coconut milk until the thickness of the puree is to your liking. Return the puree to the pot.
Alternately, you can add the coconut milk, curry powder and salt to the drained carrots in the pot, and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture - less dishes to wash.
Reheat the mixture gently over low heat and serve as is.
(while the carrots are cooking) Make the Garnish:
Stir in the nigella seeds, cumin, curry powder, salt and a sprinkle of cayenne. (You just want a mild nip here, so as not to overpower the delicate carrot flavour.)
Saute, stirring constantly, for another minute or two to bring out the flavour of the spices.
Sprinkle the garnish over the carrot puree or serve in a separate bowl and let your eaters add it at the table.
Serves 4 to 6.