Hey Hello friends and strangers! After getting two posts out last week, I had more content planned, but experienced a bit of a personal tragedy in my life. I’m okay, but basically this ended in me not making a post on Wednesday. To make up for it, two posts today!

This recipe falls under weekend fare, although it really is the easiest side for how creative it is. I think carrots are honestly underrated in terms of how adaptable they are to other flavours. Carrots are often roasted, steamed or boiled on their own, and that’s great (carrots and sea salt really are the real MVPs!) but the natural sweetness and tenderness of carrots give them so much potential for greatness! After all, carrots are out in chilli, in pad Thai, in fried rice, in stews, curries and more!

This chilli glaze doesn’t have any sticky syrups, because I find carrots release a lot of sweetness on their own when cooked. We made these using all ingredients we had in our kitchen (besides, surprisingly, the carrots)!

Kung-pao glazed carrots

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 4-5 as a side

Nutritional info: Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free option.

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb carrots, scrubbed and tips/tops removed*
  • One large shallot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic-chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin (optional)
  • 1/4 cup tamari*
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp starch of your choice*

Notes

With the carrots, ensure that they’re the right size — too fat will fail to absorb the glaze, but too tiny will overcook and become mushy.

For a soy-free option, coconut aminos make a one-for-one substitute for tamari.

Cornstarch or arrowroot powder are fine, but tapioca starch/flour will make the mixture too stretchy.

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 370.
  2. When the oven reaches this heat, lay  the carrots, clean and free from stumps and dead ends, in a shallow baking dish. Let them cook at this temp for about 15 minutes, while you prep the glaze.
  3. In a small saucepan, sauté the shallot in a small amount of oil (not the sesame oil) over medium-high heat for two minutes or until translucent and fragrant.
  4. Add in the garlic-chilli paste, tomato paste, garlic and ground ginger. Reduce heat. Stir and sauté for five minutes.
  5. Add in the liquids (tamari, rice vinegar, optional mirin and sesame oil). Stir, enduring the element is not so hot that it’s getting sticky and glaze-like already.
  6. Add starch and let cook until reduced slightly, for a few minutes.
  7. Remove the carrots from the oven, add the glaze and cook for another 10-15 minutes (this will depend on the power of your oven; you want the carrots to be soft and the glaze to not burn).

Serve alongside a nice protein-y dish, and top with peanuts (or sunflower seeds for a nut-free option), cilantro or hot peppers!