A while ago I was watching this Taiwanese Chef making a vegetarian dish with a sauce made from carrots. At first I wasn’t sure if my Native Kiwi would like it. But he poured so much onto his rice so I guess you can have the assurance his “western tongue” likes it.
When I was watching the show, I didn’t actually get around to copy the recipe (I hardly cook to recipes anyway). I played around with making this carrot sauce a few times and nailed it down to this final recipe after all the tweaks. This recipe is really about the carrot sauce. You can use whatever vegetables you like.
For the sauce, you’ll need:
- 2 carrots, grated (200g or so)
- 200ml water
- 2 egg yokes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon corn starch or other thickening starch stired with 50 ml water
- a little stock powder (chicken or vege)
- salt to taste
To complete the dish, I used:
- 2 cloves of garlics
- 2 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in water until soft. Keep the soaking water.
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 small courgettes, cut into small bite size
- salt to taste
Here’s what I did for the sauce:
- Heat a little oil (1/2 tablespoon or so) in a frying pan.
- Add grated carrots and stir-fry until soft.
- Add 200 ml water and bring to boil.
- Simmer for 10 minutes until carrots are mushy.
- Mush carrots in the pan or blend it with a blender. (I prefer to blend it for a smoother taste but the checf I was watching on the show only mushed it in the pan.)
- Taste the mixture and add stock powder and/or salt to your taste.
- If you are using the egg yolks, add them to the starch water and lightly beat to combine.
- Have the carrot mixture on a very gentle simmer and slowly add the starch water, stirring constantly.
- Keep stirring over a very low heat until the mixture thickens.
- The carrot sauce is done. Keep it aside and prepare vegetables.
Here’s what I do with the vegetables:
- Heat a little oil (1 tablespoon or so) in a frying pan.
- Smash and roughly chop the garlics and add to frying pan.
- Squeeze water out of the soaked mushrooms and slice.
- Add mushrooms to frying pan and stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add vegetables and stir-fry for 2 minutes or so. (You don’t actually have to keep stirring, just give it a stir every now and then so things don’t burn.)
- Add mushroom water to pan and cover for 2 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender.
- Add salt to your taste. Don’t over salt it; remember you’ll be adding the carrot sauce to the vegetables.
- Tip the vegetables onto your serving dish, leaving a little behind.
- Pour the carrot sauce over then top with the rest of the vegetables.
Just a final note: The sauce is meant to be a vegetarian imitation of a sauce made from crab roe (蟹膏, the gooey orange stuff inside crabs during autumn). Sorry if I’m grossing you out – but crab roe is considered a delicacy in many Asian countries. That’s why I added the egg yolks to enhance the imitation. The chef I was watching on the show didn’t use egg yolks. If you can understand Mandarin, here‘s the video I was watching. (They also speak a bit of Taiwanses. By the way, I visit this site a lot and think it’s probably the best Chinese cooking website.)