Roasted carrots with dukkah

A simple way to let carrots play to their strengths.

 Roasted carrots with dukkah

Carrots get no respect. It’s not their fault: too often they’re consigned to the background, diced into oblivion or, worse, smothered in honey or maple syrup. How is adding sweeteners to a vegetable bred to be preternaturally sweet doing it any favours?

When it’s time for carrots to take a starring role on my table, I let them play to their strengths. A trip to the oven enhances their sweetness, and a dusting with dukkah, warm, nutty and gently spiced, adds both taste and texture.

Think of dukkah, one of the glories of Egyptian cuisine, as spiced nuts rather than a spice mix with nuts in it. You can buy it already made, of course, but it’s really easy and worthwhile to make your own, and there’s a recipe below.


Roasted carrots with dukkah

Serves 2, as a side dish

250g (½ pound) small carrots
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dukkah
60ml (
¼ cup) unflavoured Greek yoghurt

Set your oven to 200°C (400°F).

Baby carrots can simply be trimmed; slice larger carrots in half or quarters lengthways so that the pieces are about a finger's width. Lay the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil and toss the carrots until well coated, then sprinkle with dukkah and toss gently again to cover.

Roast for 30 minutes or until the very tips of the carrots begin to char.

Serve with a few dollops of Greek yoghurt sprinkled with a little more dukkah.


Dukkah

The tradition, which I follow here, is to make dukkah with hazelnuts. Almonds are a common substitute, or macadamias if you’re feeling extravagant.

Once you have a jar of dukkah in your kitchen, you’ll find it becomes a go-to ingredient, always on standby for coating chicken pieces or lamb cutlets, or to be scattered over salads. Or eat it the way it’s eaten in Egypt: dip a torn piece of warm flatbread into extra virgin olive oil, then into a little bowl of dukkah – simple, delicious perfection.

50g (⅓ cup) dry roasted hazelnuts
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Pulse the hazelnuts in a blender, small processor or spice grinder. You want to break them up but not turn them to powder, so stop while they still have some texture.

Toast the cumin, coriander and sesame seeds in a hot, dry pan until warmed through and fragrant, and the sesame seeds have taken on a little colour. Add to the nuts along with the salt and few good grindings of pepper and pulse to combine.

Dukkah can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month.