December 11, 2018
Parsnips are originally from Eurasia, a landmass combining eastern parts of Europe and Asia. The root vegetable served as a vital food source until the potato was discovered in the New World. I had never seen a parsnip until I came to North America, and at first I did not like the taste of them, especially raw. However, when cooked or roasted, the distinct peppery, slightly nutty and sweet flavors of these nutrient-packed tubers come to center stage. When paired with carrots for a sweet compliment, they lend themselves so well to spices! I have grown to love parsnips and strive to discover new ways to use them during the winter. Ajwain, a spice native to India, pairs beautifully with parsnips. In some areas, ajwain is known as “bishop’s weed” or “carom.” It is a small roundish seed with distinct, pungent flavors of oregano with an aroma reminiscent of thyme. You can sprinkle it over roasted potatoes, fish or meats. Raita is the cooling companion on an Indian table, usually prepared in a minimally spiced way. It can also work as a dip — as it does here with the ajwain-dusted parsnips.
2 large carrots + 2 large parsnips (total weight roughly 1 1/2 pounds)
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ajwain
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon amchur
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
Sesame seeds and chopped cilantro for garnish
1 small beet
1 cup plain thick yogurt (preferably whole milk)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut them into 4-inch long and 1/2-inch thick sticks. Toss with oil, salt, black pepper, turmeric, and ajwain and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and cook them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. They will steam then turn tender yet hold their shape.
Remove the foil, raise the oven temperature to 400°F and sprinkle the vegetables with amchur. Place the tray back in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and immediately sprinkle with chile powder. The vegetables should have turned golden brown. Garnish with sesame seeds, chopped cilantro and serve with the beet raita.
For the Beet Raita_
Wrap the beet in foil and place in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes to an hour. When the beet feels soft and tender, remove from the oven and let it cool. Peel, grate and combine with the yogurt, salt, and pepper. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil until hot but not yet smoking and pop the cumin seeds. Within 4 to 5 seconds, fold them into the beet yogurt.
Replace olive oil with ghee, coconut oil, or butter for added flavor.
Amchur is sun dried green mango – another great spice that can make it’s way into your kitchen is so much more like roasted potatoes, chicken or popcorn!
Covering the vegetables in foil steams and bakes them for the initial process. This allows them to stay plump as opposed to vegetables that often shrivel in the oven over time.
December 02, 2022