My friend Katrina made a recipe like this for my going away party, and I really liked it. It was gingery, sweet and spicy and rich tasting without actually being very rich. Katrina said she didn’t use a recipe but based her dish loosely on the recipe in Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian. The recipe is a little long, with lots of steps, but it makes a large amount, probably about 3 cups, or about 6 servings. Notice that this recipe has to cool before serving, so make it ahead of time.
- 1 pound (about 6 medium) carrots, unpeeled, stem end left on
- 1 large red onion, unpeeled, quartered
- 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half crosswise
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. finely minced peeled ginger
- 2 tsp. curry spice blend (see below) or a good curry powder
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
- pinch of cayenne
- 1-4 Tbs. water or low-sodium vegetable stock
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- minced cilantro (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Oil or spray with cooking spray a baking dish large enough to accommodate all the vegetables in a single layer.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the carrots into the boiling water and blanch for 4 minutes for long, skinny carrots; 5 to 6 minutes for fatter ones. Drain well.
- Place the carrots on the prepared baking dish along with the onion and garlic. Toss the vegetables with 1 Tbs. of the oil, rubbing the oil into the vegetables a bit. Drizzle with soy sauce and toss again. Arrange so they’re cut side down.
- Bake until the carrots are soft–you should be able to pierce them easily with a fork at their thickest point–and quite bron here and there, especially on the edge touching the pan. This will take about 40 minutes, longer if the carrots are fat. Let cool.
- As the carrots bake, prepare the spice saute: Heat the remaining Tbs. of oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and saute for 2 minutes, then add the curry powder and saute, stirring constantly, for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- When the carrots have finished baking, cut off the stem ends and remove the skin from the oinion. Place the carrots and onion in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins directly in the food processor, discarding any that are either still hard or deep brown. Add the sauteed ginger-curry mixture, along with the honey, sesame oil, and cayenne. Pulse. The mixture will be a little dry and chunky, so begin adding the liquid, one Tbs. at a time. Pulse until smooth.
- Let the spread mellow, covered, refrigerated, overnight, so the flavors can blend. Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before serving to bring to room temperature. Garnish with minced cilantro. Serve with bread, crackers, crudites, or pita chips.
Dragonwagon’s curry spice blend is quite different than a typical commercial curry blend–it has tons of black pepper, and unusual ingredients like cloves and cardamom. It’s much more intense and complex than typical curries, or as Derek puts it, “that’s pretty weird.” I like it though–it actually reminds me quite a bit of the spice mixture that I use in the white bean pate recipe I like. Overall, I liked this recipe quite a bit, although not quite as much as Katrina’s, and not as much as the white bean pate. We had friends over for dinner and I think they liked it as well. Derek wouldn’t eat it though.
Dragonwagon has another Morroccan version of this recipe. Instead of the curry powder she uses 2 tsp. cumin, 2 tsp. paprika. She says to turn it into a dip rather than a spread add 1/2 to 1 cup liquid, ideally 1/4 cup carrot juice and 1/4 cup olive oil. Or for a more mild dip, add yogurt or reduced fat sour cream.
I particularly like this dip with radishes. I also tried it with green beans–not quite as yummy. It would probably make a nice Passover spread for matzoh. A friend suggested adding a bit of cream and turning it into a pasta sauce. Katrina thought if we added more vegetable broth it would make a nice soup. If you have other serving suggestions, please post a comment.
I’ll add the curry recipe when I get a chance.
Curry Spice Blend
- 1 Tbs. coarsely ground fresh black pepper
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp. dry mustard
- 1.5 tsp. good quality curry powder
- .75 tsp. ground cardamom
- .75 tsp. ground corinader
- 1/2 tsp. ground mace
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
Combine all the ingredients and store in a tightly covered jar. If stored in a dark, cool, place, this blend will keep for about a year. Makes almost 4 Tablespoons.