Carrot chutney is a dish that can be very easy to make. It consists of some Indian spices, carrot shavings and vinegar. The chutney can be made relatively quickly in a single pot and provides an interesting flavor. It can be served as a side dish with many types of Indian bean dishes or with any meal that can benefit from a healthy, clean-tasting, tart accompaniment.
The most basic preparation uses many carrots that have been shaved down with a vegetable peeler. The strips are kept very thin so they cook down and become tender quickly. This can be a fair amount of work, because it will take many carrots to create just a small amount of carrot chutney. The carrot shavings have less volume than a solid carrot, and the cooking process will further reduce them.
Like much of Indian cooking, the next step is to heat some oil and cook the spices to be added until they are aromatic. There are many options for the type of spices that could be added to carrot chutney. One option is to start with black mustard seeds. These small seeds can be added to hot oil before the pan is covered with a lid, because the seeds will pop and turn gray as they cook.
Some traditional ingredients that can be added to the carrot chutney are ginger and garlic, cardamom and red pepper flakes. This creates a good combination that will accent the sweetness of the carrots as they reduce during cooking. A small amount of sugar also can be added depending on the quality and type of carrots. The sugar can help to neutralize the vinegar and round out the flavor.
Once the spices have become aromatic, it is time to add the carrot shavings. Over low heat, the carrots, oil and spices should start to come together into carrot chutney. If the pot looks too dry, some water can be added to keep it moist, but only once most of the oil has been cooked out.
The carrots should cook until they start to become tender and darken a little in color. At this point, vinegar and any sugar can be added to the pan. The entire mixture cooks a little longer, until the flavors have completely melded and the carrots are completely tender. This final stage of cooking helps to balance the flavors, take the edge off the vinegar, and reduce any remaining liquid in the pan. The carrot chutney is ready to serve once the liquid has cooked away.
Several additions can be added to the carrot chutney, depending on the tastes of the chef. Raisins and almonds can be added to accent the sweetness of the dish. When adding spices, turmeric and ground coriander can be used to make it more savory. Some recipes also call for adding coconut milk to the dish instead of water.