Do you ever buy carrots that have the carrot tops still attached? Do you ever get the organic carrots from Misfits Market and wonder what to do with the extra carrot greens or carrot leaves? That’s exactly what led me to experiment with the tops/greens/leaves and come up with this recipe. This recipe is not a Chinese recipe that was passed down to me from my relatives. Instead, I just experimented and came up with it! Please let me know what you think in the comments if you try it for yourself.
The first time I served this to my husband was shortly after our first Misfits Market package. He tasted it and asked me, “what the heck is this?” He had never tried carrot leaves before. Needless to say, he liked it. Now, it’s a regular side dish in our meals whenever a shipment of carrots arrives with their tops attached.
The recipe basically involves blanching the carrot leaves and mixing them with a simple sauce. The leaves have a slightly bitter and sweet taste. The sauce includes some sugar, which help reduce the bitterness and enhance the already subtly sweet flavor of the carrot leaves. The sauce also includes roasted sesame oil, which adds a nice aroma (both smell and taste). The resulting carrot tops/greens/leaves are sweet, aromatic, and a delight to eat. They pair particularly well with fish or meat dishes, because the carrot leaves have a refreshing and mild taste. I would serve these along with my steamed branzino or sweet and sour spare ribs. This side dish would also pair well with recipes that use carrots, some of which I will post in the coming weeks.
Active Time: 10 min
Total Time: 15 min
Servings: 4 people as an appetizer or side dish
- 1 bunch of organic carrot leaves (also known as carrot tops or carrot greens)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce1
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Start heating a pot of water over medium-high heat.
- While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the carrot leaves. First cut off the leaves from the carrots, then discard the long stem parts2 and chop the carrot leaves into 1-inch (~2.5 cm) pieces. Set the carrots aside (you can use them in my other recipes).
- Wash the carrot leaves. Remove the ones that have wilted.
- When the water starts boiling, add the carrot leaves and blanch for 2 minutes. The leaves are very delicate so make sure not to overcook them.
- Squeeze out the extra water and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Mix the sauce well with the carrot leaves.
- Any light soy sauce (not the kind for coloring purpose) can do the job. Kikkoman, Pearl River Bridge （珠江橋牌）, Lee Kum Kee （李錦記）are some of the common Asian soy sauce brands. Or you can use San-J gluten free soy sauce if you are gluten free.
- The stems are discarded because they are a bit stringy and hard to chew. They have a similar taste to celery.