I was rustling through my freezer this week when I found some frozen curry leaves tucked against the back wall. Jackpot! After consulting a cookbook ("Savoring the Spice Coast of India" by Maya Kaimal), I decided to try a new dish: carrot thoren, or carrots with coconut and urad dahl (which I served with a seasoned dahl, shown in the back of the photo).
The dish starts by heating mustard seeds in oil. After the mustard seeds have popped, urad dahl, (freezer spotted) curry leaves, and a red chili are added, and cooked until the urad dahl begins to brown. Chopped onions then enter the pot, followed by grated carrots and salt.
After the carrots have cooked briefly, a paste made from grated coconut, ground cumin seed, tumeric, cayenne pepper, and water is stirred in, and the mixture cooks just a few minutes more.
The result is a nice blend of spicy and sweet, without being overly carrot-y. The dish had a good crunch thanks to the carrots, urad dahl, and coconut; I really liked the texture of the thoren in contrast with the soft, soupy seasoned dahl. I can see myself eating carrot thoren year-round, but it's an especially nice mid-winter change-up on a typical winter vegetable.