Monday, January 24, 2011

Roasted Carrot Cumin Dip

For the longest time, while the princess was living with us, I got away from cooking with carrots.  Perhaps influenced by her aunt, the duck--who also has an almost deathly aversion to the root--the princess refused any food with carrots.  Although we had carrots in for my wife and I to snack on, they were rarely included on the menu.  Now that the princess has returned to Indonesia, we are free once again to enjoy carrots.

Epicurious is a site I often go to when looking for an idea for something to cook.  The recipes are usually clearly written and there's a wealth of them.  I generally have an idea if I'll like the recipe or not based on the ingredients used.  If I have bought something I want to cook but haven't decided what to do with it yet, I'll search the database for ideas.  This dip is one that evolved from one I discovered from one such search.

The original dip at the Epicurious site is actually easier and equally delicious.  It uses raw carrots and doesn't include cumin.  It takes about five minutes to make and tastes wonderful, if you like carrots and ginger.

Cumin and carrots seem to have a natural affinity.  One of the dishes that appears at almost every class potluck in which at least one student is from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, or Kyrgyzstan is plov.  A rice dish which includes beef and carrots, it is usually generously spiced with cumin.  The combination of the braised carrots and cumin in the plov is always satisfying.  This dip attempts to capture the essence of that combination.  Roasting the carrots before pureeing them gives the dip an added depth.  The dip resembles hummus in texture and can be served with crudities, chips, or crackers.

Roasted Carrot Cumin Dip

5 medium carrots (about 600 gr)
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup +/- mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds, dry roasted in a pan, cooled, and then ground
salt, to taste

Coat the carrots with the olive oil and place in a baking pan.  Cover with foil and bake in a 400º oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove the foil, stir the carrots and bake another 15 minutes or so.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 

In a food processor or blender, puree ginger and carrots.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until you have a relatively smooth dip.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

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