Carrots are criminally underrated, subjected to overcooking or supplied as an unimaginative crunch in a salad. Pre-cooking in aromatics adds more flavour and exploits their natural sweetness. 






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This dish is a wonderful side that is easy to make and goes well as a veggie main, or a room-temp accompaniment to fish or poultry.  


  • 800 g carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, left whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • sea salt, to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 120 g good-quality tahini
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100 ml ice cold water
  • 4 spring onions, halved

Cauliflower leaf furikake

  • leaves from 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp katsuobushi (bonito flakes), optional

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Serves 4 as a side dish.

Resting time: 30 minutes

Dehydrating time: 4 hours

  1. For the furikake, preheat the oven to 160ºC. Place the cauliflower leaves, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar in a bowl and toss to coat. Spread the leaves in a single layer over a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes or until they collapse and darken. Transfer to a dehydrator and dry at 60ºC until crisp (alternatively, reduce the oven temperature to as low as possible or use just the pilot light). Transfer the dried leaves to a blender and pulse into flakes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, then store in an airtight container.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the carrots, reserving the peel for stock (place in a container and freeze for a later date). Cut each carrot into 4 pieces on an angle, rolling the carrot 90 degrees on each cut. Place the carrot in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and fennel seeds. Add enough salt that you feel it’s a little too salty. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are tender. Drain and stand until cool. Remove and reserve the boiled garlic, then toss the carrots with a little olive oil.
  3. In a blender, puree the tahini, reserved garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice and chilled water until very smooth. Season with salt.
  4. Preheat a char gill pan over high heat. Grill the carrots on all sides, only turning when they have achieved some charring. Don’t be scared here, the bitter charring enhances and balances the sweet carrot. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Repeat with the spring onions.
  5. To serve, spread the tahini sauce onto a platter and top with the carrots and spring onions. Sprinkle with generously with the cauliflower furikake.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.