Sweet Chili Carrots are our new take on a dinnertime staple, the humble carrot. This recipe takes all that wonderful carrot flavor and nutrition, but elevates it with Mediterranean spices and pre-made sweet chili sauce for a sweet and spicy twist.
Do you ever find a cookbook that provides so much inspiration, you find yourself tagging almost every single page? Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty is one of those, especially when we’re looking for nutritious and interesting vegetable dishes. Our Sweet Chili Carrots recipe is inspired by the wonderful flavors in that book’s recipe for “Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad.” (You can find the original recipe reprinted by the LA Times here.)
To get perfectly cooked carrots, tender throughout but retaining a bit of a bite, browned and bursting with flavor, we are using a two-part method. First, simmer the cut pieces in salted water until they are barely tender.
Once drained, the carrots are sauteed with shallots and spices before we coat them with the sweet chili sauce. Top with fresh cilantro and they are ready to serve! This is truly a spectacular, simple, delicious addition to your weeknight dinners.
The Sauce for your Sweet Chili Carrots
We use jarred sauce to make this a super simple dish with loads of flavor. Most grocery stores with an international foods section will have a version. Choose one that you like and that has the spice level that you enjoy. Some are quite a bit spicier than others! But any you choose will work in this dish.
Serving Your Sweet Chili Carrots
This is a stand-out recipe, so choose a simple protein or main dish to serve with your Sweet Chili Carrots. Simple chicken, pork, or steak seasoned with salt and pepper are all perfect options.
A nice, cooling dessert will round out your meal perfectly. Why not have one of these delicious options on hand?
Sweet Chili Carrots
- 2 pounds carrots peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds or half-round pieces
- 2-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt divided
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium shallots sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3-4 tablespoons jarred sweet chili sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Par-Cook the Carrots: Place carrots in a large saucepan and cover with water. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it begins boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the carrots are just tender, but not yet soft. Drain the carrots and set aside.
- Saute the aromatics: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent, soft, and just barely beginning to brown. Stir in the ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the Carrots and Spices: Add the cooked carrots, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and cloves. Stir until the carrots are coated with the spices, then stir in the sweet chili sauce. Start with 3 tablespoons, then add more if needed after tasting.
- Finish and Serve: Remove from the heat, add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the cilantro. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm.
- Different brands of sweet chili sauce have different spice levels, so be sure to taste yours and to taste the carrots after adding some of the sauce before adding the full 4 tablespoons. The final dish should have a hint of the chili flavor and spice, but not carry too much heat and overshadow the flavor of the carrots themselves.
- If your carrots are large, be sure to halve or quarter them before slicing. All of your carrot pieces should be roughly the same size so that they cook evenly.