These pretty pink carrots are exclusively available in the winter months in Northern India, and eagerly waited upon to be snapped up by eager foodies like us. Their irresistible color adds a rosy flair to dozens of dishes, in both dinner and dessert spreads. Light raspberry pink in color, long and spindly in form, they taste mildly sweet and juicy, and are eaten both raw and cooked – in salads, breads, stir-fries and halwas. When we laid our hands this month on the first bunch of the season, we wanted to make a dish that would highlight their every facet before they disappeared into a warm salad with early peas or melted into a blush milk broth.
We cut them into fingers, added a few select spices to bring out their peppery nuances and when we roasted them, the flare of their rouge morphed into gorgeous rusty reds, and streaks of golden yellow emerged from the pale insides. With the kick of the spices providing a foil to the sweetness and zest of the carrots, it took only a few freckles of sesame to make them the star of the meal that night.
Sesame Carrot Sticks with Garam Masala
- 6 Pink carrots or a Pound of regular carrots
- 2 Tablespoons sesame* or light olive oil
- ¼ Teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ Teaspoon garam masala
- 1/8 Teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne
- Tiny pinch of turmeric
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 Teaspoon sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/220°C. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease well or just use parchment paper.
- Wash and dry the carrots. Trim the top and bottom ends and lightly scrape the skins. Cut them into sticks all about the same size. Pink carrots are almost a foot long – cut them into halves, and leave the top half whole if it is not too thick. Split the bottom part into 2 and then each of those pieces into 2 or 3 sticks.
- In a small bowl, stir together the oil, salt, garam masala and turmeric.
- Lay out the carrots on the baking sheet and brush with the spiced oil. Toss well and then spread them out in a single layer. Add a few twists of fresh cracked black pepper.
- Place in the middle rack of the oven. Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until tender, tossing once.
- Take the carrots out, sprinkle the sesame seeds and return to the oven for 8 minutes. Serve warm.
* Use sesame oil available in Indian stores here and not toasted sesame oil.
We like to serve these on their own, at the start of the meal or as a side with a simple lentil stew and steamed rice.
Find more Indian-inspired recipes using everyday ingredients in our new eBook – MANGO MASALA: 60 Indian Recipes From Your Local Supermarket..now available on Amazon.com.