Sweet and Sour Carrots

If you want to jazz up your traditional carrot side dish and bring some heat with it, this is a recipe for you. I came across this easy sweet and sour Asian-themed carrot recipe recently from Cooking Light and wanted to share it because it’s simple, delicious and healthy. The sweet comes from the carrots themselves, first steamed and then sauteed, and the sweet chili sauce, while the sour comes from the apple cider vinegar and toasted sesame oil, plus you get a bit of a crunch texture from the green onions, garlic and sesame seeds.

And, the heat is just right, not overpowering in spiciness but enough to get your taste buds tingling. You can always adjust the level of sweet chili sauce the next time you make it, but trust me your mouth won’t be burning from the level of heat with the amount called for in this recipe. This recipe provides four servings, each about 1/2 cup.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

14 ozs. of sliced carrots, sliced in 1 and 1/2-inch pieces (Make your life easier and buy pre-sliced fresh packaged carrots like I did. If not, the recipe requires about four medium- to large carrots you’ll need to peel and slice to get the quantity called for.)

1/4 cup diced green onions (one bunch of green onions should do the trick)

1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

3 garlic cloves sliced

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbs. sweet chili sauce

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. sesame seed

IMG_6523 (2)
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to create this sweet and sour carrot recipe

 

Directions:

Let’s start with the carrots. The recipe calls for 14 ozs. of sliced carrots. Honestly, if you fall short, and end up with 12 ozs. or so, that’s perfectly fine as its still quite a bit. As I mentioned above, as a time saver, if you can purchase the carrots pre-sliced and packaged, that is ideal. If not, you’ll need four or so medium- to large carrots, peeled and sliced.

My pre-sliced packages of carrots, ready to go.

Combine 1/2 cup water into a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Pour 1/2 cup of water in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
Bring the water to a boil.

Give the carrots a good washing first…

Rinse your carrots well…

…And then add them into the boiling water.

In go the carrots!

Bring the water back up to a boil and then turn down the heat on the skillet and let the carrots simmer, with the skillet partially covered for about six minutes.

Bring the water back up to a boil after you’ve introduced the carrots into the skillet.
Lower the heat to a simmer and partially cover the skillet, steaming the carrots for six minutes.

While the carrots are simmering, we can turn our attention to prepping the green onions and garlic cloves. You’ll want a decent-sized bunch of green onions, which should be ample to give you 1/4 of a cup of diced onions.

A decent-sized bunch of green onions.

Let’s get them rinsed first.

Rinse those green onions!

Now put them on the chopping block:) Align the onions and in one single cut if you can, cut off the hairy ends.

Line up the bunch of green onions…
…and cut off the hairy ends.

Now, dice the onions into smallish pieces. The recipe calls for 1/2-inch diced pieces, but that’s pretty tough to calculate while you’re cutting so just do your best and don’t worry about getting some of the green stalk in there. You’ll want 1/4 of a cup of diced green onions. Set the onions aside.

The diced green onions.
One bunch of green onions was plenty to give me the 1/4 cup I needed diced.

Now, its time to slice the garlic cloves. You’ll need three peeled garlic cloves.  Again, if you can make life easier for yourself, most grocery stores and bulk food stores like Sam’s Club and Costco offer bags of peeled garlic cloves. I tend to use garlic and onions in a lot of my cooking, so I like being able to grab my bag of peeled cloves from the fridge and pull out a few and start chopping or slicing without having to spend the time and hassle to peel them, but that’s my preference.

Three plump garlic cloves, ready to be sliced.
Just give the cloves a rough slice and you’re done.

Let’s get back to our steamed carrots. After six minutes of steaming, take the lid off the pan, increase the heat and cook for another four minutes or until the water has evaporated.

Here are the carrots after steaming for about six minutes, with the lid now taken off.
And here are the carrots after cooking for another four minutes or so until the liquid has evaporated.

The next step is to add in the green onions, garlic and I Tbs. of toasted sesame oil. If you don’t already have a bottle of toasted sesame oil in your pantry, it’s easy to find in the Asian section of any grocery store. Most recipes that call for it don’t require much more than a Tbs. or two as its quite flavorful and strong, so a bottle can last for quite some time. I’ve had the same bottle for eons. 

The diced onions get dumped in.
The sliced garlic follows suit.
A typical bottle of toasted sesame oil, easily acquired from your grocery store.
The sesame oil introduced after the onions and garlic.

Stir in the three ingredients well and cook for about three minutes. Final step is to introduce the last four ingredients: two Tbs. of apple cider vinegar, two Tbs. of sweet chili sauce and 1/4 tsp. of sea salt, and 1/2 tsp. of sesame seeds that will top the competed dish.

My kitchen wouldn’t be complete without a bottle of apple cider vinegar.
This is the first of two Tbs. of apple cider vinegar required for this recipe.

I did not have sweet chili sauce in my pantry when I first tried this recipe but I easily discovered it in the Asian section of my grocery store. I went for the mild choice of chili sauce because I’m not able to handle a lot of heat and two Tbs. as called for in the recipe was the ideal amount of heat for me. As I mentioned above, you can always alter the amount of sauce to your own palate, but try the recipe with two Tbs. first and then you’ll know in the future what to do when you prepare it again.

 

Here is the bottle of mild sweet chili sauce that I bought.
Here goes the second Tbs. of sweet chili sauce into the skillet.
Ready for the sea salt now!
Just 1/4 of a tsp. of sea salt goes in.

Give all of the ingredients a good stir and then we’re ready to top the dish with 1/2 tsp. of sesame seeds.

Give the ingredients a good stir, so that the vinegar, chili sauce and salt are well distributed.

So, the last step is to sprinkle 1/2 of a tsp. of sesame seeds over the dish. I didn’t have sesame seeds in my pantry before  trying this recipe the first time, but again,  I had no trouble locating a bottle  in the Asian section of my local grocery store.  

A typical bottle of sesame seeds.
Sprinkle the 1/2 tsp. of sesame seeds over the dish.

Here it is, the recipe completed…

The recipe finished…

…And ready to be plated.

The presentation of the sweet and sour carrots.

Nutritional Breakdown:

Serving size: 1/2 cup

Per Serving: Cal: 72; Total Fat: 3.8 g. (Sat Fat: 0.5 g.); Sugars: 4 g. (est. added sugars, 1 g.); Chol: 0 mg.; Sod: 177 mg.; Carb: 9 g; Pro: 1 g.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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