Friday, April 15, 2011

Thai Style Ginger Carrot--Replica of a Missing Hit

There used to be a wonderful dish called Thai Style Ginger Carrot, which I bought regularly at the frozen food section of my Trader Joe's store. It was a simple dish of shredded carrot--orange and yellow, shredded ginger, and some slivered almonds. It was not spicy at all, despite ginger, but wonderfully crunchy and savory and tasted not the least like a ready made frozen food. It was a very popular dish also for my kids, who do not like carrots in any other incarnation. So, on my weekly trip to TJ's, I was always buying a few bags of ginger carrot and served it as often, as they asked for it.

Unfortunately, as many good products, one day it has disappear forever. I have learned that it has been discontinued due to insufficient client interest. Strange, as often times my local store was not able to keep up with the demand. But perhaps DC area consumers are different and most elsewhere this product was not popular enough to be sold nation-wide.

When the other day my son asked about ginger carrot, I decided to recreate it myself. I bought a bag of shredded carrot, and a big piece of ginger. The rest was just improvisation.

There were obvious ingredients that you could taste and see--carrot, ginger and almonds, but the sauce in which they were fried was not so evident. It was not very greasy but tasty in a way that made the whole difference. I made the base sauce form oil and soy sauce, but it was not rich enough, as it was in TJ's ginger carrot. Since the dish was coming or was inspired by Thai cuisine I added a little bit of peanut butter to the sauce--thinking about the taste of a typical pad Thai. That made the whole difference. The sauce became thicker and very similar to what we remembered. Here is how I made it.

Thai Style Ginger Carrot
(Serves four as accompaniment)

4 cups (10 oz) shredded carrot,
2 tbsp ground ginger,
1 tbsp olive oil,
1 tbsp peanut butter,
1/3 cup slivered roasted almonds,
2 tbsp light soy sauce,
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley.

1. Heat oil on a large roasting pan, and when hot, add ginger and fry for about one minute.
2. In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter and soy sauce into a homogeneous sauce, and add it to ginger.
2. Throw carrot and almonds into the pan and coat with the sauce.
3. Fry for about about 3-4 minutes--carrot should be al dente and crispy.
4. Take off from the heat, add chopped parsley, and serve.