An interesting factoid about larger public libraries (such as where I work) is that non-profit groups can reserve and meet in our general purpose room. The nice groups leave the room as clean as they found it. The really nice group leave us leftovers from their catered lunches. One extremely lovely Indian club routinely leaves us enough food to feed two shifts. Except for one knowledgeable part-time librarian who works the 2nd shift, the rest of us dig in without knowing what any of the items are, except that they are totally vegetarian. And totally delicious!
One item that really blew me away was a spiced carrot dish, a condiment really. Knowledgeable Librarian said it is called Gajar Ka Achaar (carrot pickle). It is nothing like what we usually think of when we hear the word pickle. Unlike cucumber pickles, submerged in a vat of vinegary brine containing garlic, dill and pickling spices, carrot pickle (referred to in the singular) is coated in mustard or olive oil and mixed with ground mustard seeds, chili powder and other aromatic spices, then left in a glass jar in the sun to ripen.
While trolling the intertubes for a version I could reproduce, I came across Mordechai's Indian Carrot Pickle.
How could I pass up a recipe with a name like that?
The carrot pickle I sampled at the library had a couple different spices than Mordechai's (just like chicken soup, there are about a gazillion different recipes for carrot pickle), so I adjusted Mordechai's a tad to come up with this mash-up. Since I was afraid of leaving a food product in the sun (food poisoning doesn't usually play nice with my tummy), I marinated it in the fridge instead. Still needs a bit of tinkering, but edible enough to share with you, Dear Reader: something a little different for Thanksgiving. Woo-hoo!
The list of spices is long, but the directions are very easy -- pretty much just mix and marinate. The servings are small since Indian pickle is usually served as a condiment to other veggie dishes.
Note that curry leaves are NOT curry powder. It's easy to confuse the two because of similar names, but I have here an easy way to distinguish between the two:
|Curry leaves.||Curry powder.|
Indian-Style Carrot Pickle
Based on Mordechai's Indian Carrot Pickle
Yield: 6-8 servings
1/2 lb. baby carrots
3 cups water
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. chili powder
pinch ground mace (optional)
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. curry leaves (optional)
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 Tbl. lemon juice
Boil water in a 2-quart saucepan; add carrots. Return to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and let the carrots dry completely.
Place carrots in a 1 quart bowl. Pour oil over carrots and turn carrots over a few times to coat.
Drop remaining ingredients on carrots.
Continue to turn to evenly coat with spice mixture. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least a day. Two is even better. Serve cold or at room temperature.