Carrots, Moroccan Style


Grocery shopping in Hanoi requires determination, smarts and discipline. Meat, fruits and vegetables are best bought fresh at markets that dot the city. Unfortunately I have to cross a highway to get to my closest market (insane traffic) but in a side street near my school a ladies set stalls up morning and night. Eggs, freshly pressed tofu, pork and chickens sit side by side with all manner of vegetables from ruby ripe tomatoes to stunningly fresh green onions. On the other side of the street you can buy processed meats roasted pork with crackling that lives up to its name and other pre-prepared food.


All this is stupidly fresh but difficult to buy with little language, but what about grocery items? Well in my area there are a bunch of delis, mini marts and the Fivimart. But don’t expect a western supermarket experience, oh no. All these shops stock different products, so to complete a shopping list you may need to stop at 3 or 4 different shops. Butter is from France or New Zealand. Most of the dairy is UHT. If the dairy is fresh, it is imported, expensive with an inconsistent supply. UHT cream is weird. Apples and pears from America. Australian wine is expensive. Beer and spirits are cheap. Spices can be spankingly fresh or dusty. Chicken stock is called broth, imported from America and comes in a can. You can buy chillies in a can, too. The rule here is, if you see it buy as much as you can carry because tomorrow it might be gone.

Nearby there is a shop famous for imported products. Two coolrooms are filled with Australian lamb and veal, French Cheese, stonefruit, blood oranges, artichokes. I try not to buy vegetables from here, support the local economy and all that but I couldn’t resist these round baby carrots. Fiddly to peel, but when cooked turn into sweet bite sized chunks but retain their clean ever-so carroty flavour. Inspired by the endless incarnations of raw Moroccan carrot salads I imagined softened orbs, spiced and browned, warming in this suddenly frigid Hanoi winter.


Doused in spices, drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with course sea salt these carrot balls became flavour bombs, sweet, hot, sour and salty. Only some of the spices stick to the vegetable, but don’t let the leftover spiced oil go to waste. Mop it up with some bread, yes great bread is available here and savour the flavours of somewhere different. I’ll be here, giving myself a pat on the back for being about to find all the ingredients necessary. It sure is an adventure!

Moroccan Style Carrots
If you can’t find these orb-like delicious carrots, don’t worry. Substitute baby carrots or even regular sized ones cut into chunks.

500g carrots, trimmed, washed and peeled.
2T olive oil
20g butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 t ground ginger
2 t lemon juice.

If your carrots are round like these blanch them for a few minutes in salted boiling water to get them started. This stage won’t be necessary if you are using slices of regular carrots, or thin fingers of baby carrots.

Heat oil and butter in a small pan over medium low heat until butter has melted and is bubbling. Add carrots and cook, until softened and browned. You may need to adjust the heat or add a touch more oil. When carrots are almost done stir spices through, you want them to heat up and toast to release their flavours, but don’t burn them. Stir through lemon juice then remove from heat. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve. Don’t forget the spicy sludge at the bottom of the pan, divine.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Posted February 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    very interesting. they look like pumpkin coloured potatoes :-)
    .-= SimonFoodFavourites´s last blog ..March Into Merivale Launch Party: Best Free Food & Drink Event, Sydney (16 Feb 2010) =-.

  2. Ella
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    They look amazing! Would it be a big deal if I left the butter out?

  3. Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    SimonFoodFavourites: Well yes, they are orange and small.

    Ella: You can leave the butter out, it isn’t essential, just gives a nice flavour. You will have to add a smidgen more oil though. Just a touch.

  4. Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh these look so cute! Hehe. And they sound so tasty too! Good work scoring all the ingredients 😉 Hope everything’s going well with you over there!
    .-= Betty@TheHungryGirl´s last blog ..Spice I Am Restaurant, Darlinghurst =-.

  5. Liz
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I made this recipe tonight and it was awesome! I only had frozen sliced carrots, so I thawed them in the microwave and followed the recipe from there. They were delicious and I will definitely make them again!

    The spices remind me of the mixture I usually put on sweet potatoes….

  6. Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, you owe me a new keyboard now, I just drooled all over this one!

    This looks seriously good, where might one obtain such cute little carrots?
    .-= Shannon @ bakeandblo´s last blog ..Baklava tarts with berries =-.

  7. Posted February 23, 2010 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    Wonderful look!!! I make potatoes this way, I think with carrots would be interesting too.

  8. Sasha
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    We just made this for dinner and it was wonderful! Substituted organic baby carrots for those cute round ones, and took it a step further- just before adding the lemon juice I tossed in a bunch of thin slices of a day-old-baguette we had laying around. They crisped up beautifully and absorbed any extra sauce. I fished them out before adding the lemon juice and the combination was out of control. My husband even went so far to say that the bread was his favorite part (to which I reached over and forked a handful of carrots 😉 A lovely light dinner.

  9. Posted February 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Betty@TheHungryGirl: Aww thanks AB, the carrots were delicious. I am actually in Laos right now, and strangely I am missing Hanoi!

    Liz: Oh that is lovely to hear, thanks for sharing.

    Shannon @ bakeandblo: Bwahaha thanks! I don’t know where you’d buy them, I’ve never seen them in Australia, but maybe you could grow some.

    Miks: Thanks! Potatoes would be interesting this way.

    Sasha: Sounds delicious! The bread would have sopped up all that delicious spicy sludge wonderfully!

  10. Leighann
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    These were SO GOOD! I made it with regular carrots cut into chunks and it turned out great. I’m not normally a big fan of vegetables but I will definitely be eating more carrots in the future.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By India in Idaho « anna cotta on February 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    […] the dough, flip it around and stretch it out a lot. To go with the whole deal I also made these “Moroccan” carrots, which went perfectly with everything. It was all so yummy. Warm and creamy and spicy. Wiping up […]

  2. […] getting that.  After searching on the internet for some recipe ideas I stumbled across a recipe for Moroccan-style carrots that intruiged […]

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