Jump to Recipe This is a lovely light dish, with aromatic whole spices that complement the natural sweetness of the carrots and peas while the lemon juice and cilantro offer a sharper contrast. Since it’s a “dry curry” it doesn’t need to cook for very long. I like to make it for summer barbecues sometimes – the flavors and colors are bright and fresh and go great with a wide variety of dishes.
There’s very little oil or sauce in it and it tastes great cold the next day, so it makes for a nice make-ahead option too. Cutting the carrots into thin strips (a mandolins is perfect for this) makes it easier to get them just barely softened to bring out the natural sweetness without cooking the cauliflower or peas until they get soggy.
Carrots & Cauliflower with Whole Spices
A brightly colored and flavored veggie stir-fry that works great cold as a salad
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small cauliflower
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 bay leaf (yes, bay leaf – not curry leaves this time)
- 2 cloves
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (and additional for garnish)
- Prepare the vegetables by separating the cauliflower into bite-sized florets (not so small they’ll fall apart while cooking, since it’s a stir-fry). and cutting the carrots into thin strips. A mandoline is great for this, but I do recommend being careful with your fingers – carrots can be tough to push through.
- Heat the oil in a wok, karahi, or heavy frying pan and add the spices. Quickly stir-fry them over medium heat just until they are aromatic – this should take only 30 seconds or so. Add the salt.
- Stir in the carrots and cauliflower and stir-fry – the carrots may start to color the cauliflower if they are fresh enough to release juice while cooking. Don’t overcook them, though!
- Stir in the peas with lemon juice and cilantro and cook just until peas are bright green. Serve garnished with more cilantro.