January 10, 2010

Sweet And Sour Carrots (Indian Style)

A lot of Chinese recipes involve a perfect balance of sweet and sour tastes. Sweet and sour vegetable (usually carrots as in this recipe) is a very popular dish on the menus of many Indian restaurants offering Chinese fare.
Naturally, the first time I ever had this was in a restaurant and I have to confess I quite liked it. At some point, much later, I found a recipe for "Sweet and Sour Carrots" in one of my cookbooks and I was rather surprised (shocked was more like it) to see that the ingredients included cornstarch and tomato ketchup! My feeling is that most people would either like it or not and very few people would have an ambiguous feeling about this dish.

I have since discovered that cornstarch is used as a binder and thickener in Chinese cooking but ketchup is about as close to being Chinese as I am!!
Now that I know what goes into this dish, I tend to make it less often only because I don't think there's much nutrition in cooking some carrot, onion and bell pepper in what is basically a soya-tomato ketchup flavoured cornstarch thickened sauce.
This dish is usually not at all spicy but I prefer to add a bit of "fire" to it as I feel this tastes better.

I don't mean to put any one off this recipe with my description and let me assure you, I wouldn't be posting it here if it wasn't reasonably good. I had promised this recipe in my last post and here's my version adapted from The Vegetarian Menu Cookbook by Vasantha Moorthy.
You may also use a mix of vegetables in place of carrots for a different but equally tasty preparation.


1/4 kg carrots

2 small green bell peppers

2 small onions

2 tbsp oil (not sesame seed oil)

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tbsps tomato ketchup

1 tbsp soya sauce

1/2 tsp red chilli sauce

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp crushed black pepper

salt to taste

a couple of tbsps of spring onion greens


Peel/ scrape the carrots and slice them into 1/2" thick roundels. If your carrot is thick/ fat, cut the carrot lengthwise and then slice into 1/2 " pieces. Steam cook, microwave or boil in lightly salted ware till just done.
Dice the onion into slightly big pieces (I cut each onion half into 4). Dice the bell peppers into a similar size. Keep aside.

Heat the oil, add the onion and sauté on high heat for a couple of minutes till it turns pink. Add the bell pepper and sauté till soft. Now add the cooked carrot, salt and pepper and stir for a couple of minutes.

In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch, red chilli sauce, tomato ketchup, vinegar, sugar and about 1/4 a cup of water, till smooth. Pour this into the vegetables, stirring throughout, and allow to cook (on medium heat) for about 3 to 5 minutes till it thickens a bit. If you feel the mixture is too thick, add a little more water and cook for another minute.

Pour into a serving dish and garnish with chopped spring onion greens.
This recipe serves 3 or 4.

Serve with noodles or fried rice.

On an aside, I have moved a little further with re-arranging my blog and there's now a horizontal menu bar which should make this site a little more reader friendly. All the link should be working. I would very much appreciate being told in case any of the linksdo not open up.


Chow and Chatter said...

looks great nice and different way of making carrot

Prathibha said...

Looks really yummy for these cold winters..

sra said...

This sweet and sour gravy used to be a fascination when I was much younger, but not anymore.

Asha @ FSK said...

heya Aparna! seems like you are having a Chinese kinda winter there :)))...haven't seen you around much :( .. catch you soon?

pigpigscorner said...

Love sweet and sour combo! Yes, we do use a lot of cornstarch for thickening but nowadays I tend to stay away from that and just reduce the sauce.

Happy cook said...

I love chinese sweet and sour dishes, though have only had chicken or shrimps.

simplyfood said...

Interesting dip/pickle.I guess if we knew all the ingredients that were used in restaurants we may never be brave enough to try the recipes.

Rachana Kothari said...

The sweet and sour Carrot looks absolutely great and yummy! Nice click as well.
Rachana Kothari

~~louise~~ said...

Who would have thought? Sweet & Sour Carrots made with ketchup. However, I have heard of Copper Pennies made with Tomato Soup. I'm intrigued and a bit confused. I can't wait try it!!!!

Thanks for sharing, Aparna

s said...

looks delicious...
and love the new lay out!

jayasree said...

I too don't like to use corn starch as thickener in the cooking and I use arrow root powder in place of it.

Just read your about me page. Well written and finally your pic on the net. Lovely pic.

Nags said...

absolutely love anything sweet and sour!

Asha said...

Like Chinese soup, yummy color and looks tasty. My kids love Carrots in anything. Trisha went back to college y'day, new semester at 9am today. Feel a bit sad, house feels empty.

SE said...

nice color and wonderful..

Cham said...

I have never tasted the veggie version- the color is very exciting and attractive!

Superchef said...

absolutely love the sweet n sour combo..looks like its all Indian-Chinese in your kitchen these days! :)

Rajani said...

very nice!! i also like cabbage or baby corn in something like this, and muhsrooms, but not all at one go!!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

So lively and colourful, perfect with some steamed rice.

Shella said...

Hey How are you?? Happy New Year. The sweet and sour carrots look awesome. I am sure going to try

Vaishali said...

That looks delicious. I love Indo-Chinese food and with the ketchup you've truly made this your own :)
A belated happy new year, dear Aparna.

bake in paris said...

Love soups with carrots, lots of them... I am sure I will like this one too... Nice photo and presentation!! Thanks for sharing!

Sawadee from Bangkok,

Elra said...

What a wonderful idea Aparna. Sweet and sour dish is the perfect way to balance out the flavor.

Dharm said...

Looks good! Actually, Tomato sauce (ketchup) has a high content of lycopene and is supposed to be good for the health - especially as a cancer protection. So go for it! Eat more of this!

vegeyum said...

Wow, they look so good too! I was amazed to see the tomato sauce, but hey, if it tastes good.....

Raaga said...

I use tomato ketchup in manchurian :)

Aparna said...

You'll see me soon, Asha. :)

Reducing the sauce sounds like an excellent suggestion. Shall keep it in mind.

Louise, it takes all sorts to make a dish! LOL

Thank you, Jayasree. :)

Its a awful feeling when kids grow up and leave. :( Cheer up, Asha.

Toamto sauce, yes, but ketchup as protection against cancer? That's an idea, Dharm. :)