Caramelized Carrots with Bonga Zhoug & Yogurt Sauce
Pan searing carrots concentrates their flavor and sweetness, and here, we pair them with two sauces — one spicy-fresh, the other cool and garlicky — to create a harmonious trio. The dish comes together quickly and without fuss, making it a great side for a weeknight supper or a colorful addition to a buffet. The sauces can be made ahead of time and refrigerated (let them come to room tempera- ture before using). Serves 4–6.
Note: The Bonga sauce is reminiscent of zhoug, a Yemenite green sauce. It’s good with grilled or roasted vegetables, on a burger, or stirred into mayo to make a dressing for potato or pasta salad.
For the yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon finely minced or grated garlic 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
For the Bonga herb sauce:
1/2 cup neutral-tasting oil
2 tablespoons Bonga Spice
2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic 2 scallions, white and green parts,
1 cup (generous) torn cilantro leaves
1/4 cup torn mint leaves
1/2 cup picked flat parsley leaves 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) sea salt
For the carrots:
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium carrots, peeled (about
10 ounces), sliced diagonally into
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons roasted, salted sunflower seeds, optional
Cilantro sprigs, optional
Make the yogurt sauce Put the measured ingredients into a small bowl and add a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine and until completely smooth. Taste and add lemon juice or salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate for up to two days.
Make the Bonga sauce Put the oil plus 2 tablespoons of water into the jar of a blender, add the remaining ingredients. Blend, starting on low-speed and quickly ramping up to high, until the sauce is smooth. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and blend for a few seconds longer. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to two days.
Note: You may need to stop the blender to stir the sauce a time or two to get it blended smoothly — you can also add a bit more water if needed but only a teaspoon at a time to avoid making a watery sauce (the thickness should be only a bit looser than ketchup).
Cook the carrots Set the skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, add the carrots, stirring or tossing to coat them with oil. Add a gener- ous pinch of salt and pepper; cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and stir the carrots, turning them over; cover the pan again and cook until the carrots are tender and slightly caramelized, another 4–5 minutes. Shut off the heat and zest the lemon over the carrots. Cut a wedge of lemon and squeeze a few drops of juice over the carrots. Stir to mix through.
Arrange and serve Scoop the yogurt sauce into the center of a serving plate and use the back of a spoon to swirl it into a circle. Mound the carrots on top of the yogurt sauce, letting it peek out around the carrots. Liberally drizzle herb sauce over the carrots, then sprinkle on the sunflower seeds, if using. Add a sprig or two of decorative cilantro and serve with remaining Bonga sauce, alongside.