The Humble One

The most versatile root than the humble carrot? From juice, salads, soups and cakes, the carrot just keeps on giving. The earliest vegetable definitely known to be a carrot dates from the 10th century in Persia and Asia Minor and would have been quite unlike the orange rooted carrot of today.

In 2017 9th National Grassroots Innovation Award was given to Vallabhbhai Marvaniya is by Government for introducing carrots to Gujarat in 1943. While feeding the fodder to the cattle, once Vallabhbhai also tried some carrot and found it very tasty. He then suggested to his father that they should sell the surplus carrot in their farm. His father took it as a joke but Vallabhbhai was so sure about this that he himself dug out the carrots and took them to the market to sell. And the rest is history. At 95 now, Vallabhbhai still visits his farm twice a week, and his son Arvindbhai and his family work under his guidance with his own variety of carrots.

Well, as of now I can’t do something like Vallabhbhai but what I can do is honour this humble root vegetable. So, everything here on plate is carrots. A carrot puree with star anise, a carrot strip cooked in caramelised orange sugar, also created melt in mouth little carrot spheres which are pickled in mustard oil, and a carrot mint tuile for the crunch.

Carrots originated in the Himalayas and Hindu Kush centre of the continent and moved in both directions on the Silk Road. It is considered that Carrots were originally purple or white with a thin root, then a mutant occurred which removed the purple pigmentation resulting in a new race of yellow carrots, from which orange carrots were subsequently developed. Purple carrot, together with a yellow variant, spread to the Mediterranean region and to China, India and Japan in the 14–17th centuries.

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