Diana Henry’s Uzbeki Carrots Recipe

The most interesting carrot recipe I've attempted in a long time - infused with fragrant spices like saffron, cumin, and cinnamon. Punctuated by dried fruit, savory from caramelized onions and tomatoes, with spots of fresh, green herbaceousness from mint, and chiles, and cilantro. Things just get increasingly delicious from there.

Diana Henry’s Uzbeki Carrots

This is the most interesting carrot recipe I've tried in a long time, and I'll start by attempting to explain why. In a single bite, you realize these carrots are drunk with a cooking liquid infused with fragrant spices like saffron, cumin, and cinnamon. They take on pops of sweetness because they are punctuated by dried fruit. Deep savory flavor balances out the sweetness and is developed through a lengthy simmer incorporating caramelized onions and tomatoes. You hit spots of fresh, green herbaceousness from mint, and chiles, and cilantro, and then crunch here and there from pistachios. I loved these carrots on their own. I loved them over fregola pasta (with yogurt). I loved them on sandwiches, and folded into toasted pita along with lots of arugula and shredded hard-boiled egg.

Backing up a bit, in addition to Anna Jones' A Modern Way to Eat, I've been cooking from Diana Henry's insightful A Change of Appetite over the past couple of weeks. That's where I came across her Uzbeki Carrot recipe. I've been cooking from Diana's books for a very long time - I think it was first Crazy Water Pickled Lemons, and then Roast Figs Sugar Snow. You know with a glance at any of her books that Diana loves bold flavor, and satisfying preparations, and she also clearly appreciates and draws inspiration from the foodways of traditional cooks and cultures. I think that's a part of why I am drawn to her work. The photography in this beautiful book was shot by Laura Edwards.

Diana Henry's Uzbeki CarrotsDiana Henry's Uzbeki CarrotsDiana Henry's Uzbeki CarrotsDiana Henry's Uzbeki CarrotsDiana Henry's Uzbeki CarrotsDiana Henry's Uzbeki Carrots

While the ingredient list isn't short, you likely have a good amount of it on hand. And if you don't, it's a forgiving recipe that lends itself to substitutions. Fresh tomatoes not in season? Use canned whole tomatoes, I did. Don't have dried currents? Use chopped raisins - or I had dried pluots - they become tart sweet gems punctuating the dish. I love this recipe even more because it sparked all sorts of other ideas as I was letting the carrots simmer down. Imagine a pureed carrot soup with this flavor profile - topped with a dried fruit compote, swirl of yogurt, and lots of fresh herbs. Or doing a version with wedges of skin-on kabocha squash. Or work the carrots into a dumpling filling (perhaps with red lentils?) with the spices in a dipping sauce.

You can find more of Diana's work highlighted here in the Los Angeles Times, on Amazon, Leite's Culinaria, and on Diana's site. Also, here's her beautiful Date, Apricot, and Walnut Loaf Cake. Enjoy! -Heidi

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Diana Henry's Uzbeki Carrots

Rather than buy dried currants, I substituted some dried pluots I had on hand.

3 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced

2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (or canned equivalent if tomatoes are out of season)

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 green serrano chiles, seeded and shredded
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and black pepper
10 carrots (about 1 1/4 lb.) cut into batons, or thin rounds
1/2 cup dried currants, or other dried fruit
1 tablespoon dried barberries (optional)
1/4 teaspoon saffron stamens
1 1/2 cups water, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons honey, or to taste

1 tablespoon shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

to serve: salted yogurt, chopped green onions, cilantro and/or mint leaves

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion over medium heat until golden brown, then add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and chiles and cook for another minute, then the cinnamon and cumin and cook for another minute. Add a couple pinches of salt and pepper, and then add everything else, except the pistachios and herbs, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer the carrots until completely tender, 20-25 minutes. The mixture should remain moist but not be swimming in juice. If it gets too dry, add a little more water. If it is too sloppy, turn up the heat and boil off some of the liquid.

Taste for seasoning and balance; the mixture should be sweet and savory. Serve topped with a generous dollop of yogurt, the pistachios, herbs, and green onions.

Serves 4-6.

Adapted from A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious, published by Mitchell Beazley (June 2014)

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Prepared this last night and thought it was a fantastic blend of flavors. Already looking forward to leftovers, because I can only imagine how wonderful it will be.


Looks really interesting! I can't wait to try this recipe! I've been lusting after a good carrot dish in a while, so this is perfect!

Jennifer @ Delicious Everyday

I have been swooning over these carrots as well, the whole book in fact. It is by far one of the most inspiring cookbooks, I've have bought last year. Have you tried the leeks with yoghurt & sumach? Heavenly. Nicole P.S. Just gave my mother-in-law your second book for her birthday (she's turned 75 and to our delight she is on a quinoa, chia, spelt, farro, you-name-it bender) - loves it.

Nicole @ thejameskitchen

Made these for supper last night as a side to a small garam masala roasted chicken. Really excellent side. my chiles were a bit spicy, so next time I think I'll dial that back a bit. thanks for sharing such a creative dish.


I discovered Diana Henry's with "Salt, Sugar, Smoke" and I fell in love with her style and obviously with her accessibile and trustworthy recipes. After that, I bought "Food from Plenty", which is brilliant. This is how I approach to cooking. "A Change of Appetite" would be the next one to buy! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Juls @ Juls' Kitchen

I adore Diana's book - not only is is stunning but the recipes are wonderful too!

Millie | Add A Little

Just tried this at home to day and I have to say it really is rather good! The sweetness of the carrots punctuated by seemingly endless little explosions of counter point are quite amazing.

Rob Robilliard

Recipe on carrots good as melting in the mouth by reading it alone. Thank you. Your proficiency on foods is beyond description and it might by that, you keep many people in superior health for life. Thanks.

Kailash Agnihotri

Uzbeki Carrots is a typical side-dish served at every Russian gathering. We usually buy it in bulk at a Russian Market but, thanks to you, we can now make it ourselves!

Cucee Sprouts

This looks like a gorgeous book and a gorgeous dish. I love the little pops of flavor in the dish.

kristie {birch and wild}

Delicious recipe and can't wait to check out the book! Thanks for the recommendation!!


My dear Diana Henry I liked your Uzbeki carrot recipe, I shall try in my kitchen soon,and want to serve in a mini party and share with my 3 nieces, I am sure they will like the dish. Thank you so much. I am from Calcutta ,India,a researcher and professor and program in charge of Dietetics&Food Science and Management Programme of Indira Gandhi National Open University ( IGNOU), Now retired. Warm regards, Dr(Ms) Aindrila Chandra e-mail [email protected]


These look amazing. I've got my husband's second cousin coming over on Sun for lunch and I have everything planned, but wanted a light and happy soup to start. This is the total inspiration. I can do on Sat. and and swirl in yogurt to serve. I've preserved a fair bit of my thyme blanketed in the winter and surviving savory would probably work well with these flavors. Thanks! You just made a hectic weekend much easier.


Heidi - I've always thought barberries were currants but this recipe lists both. What is the difference and what can i sub for them? I discovered Diana Henry via her cookbook 'Plenty' and have since tried to collect them all. She is a funny lady and it's great fun to listen to her interviews as well as read her books.


Yum, can't wait to try this. What would the flavour profile of barberries be for someone down Australia way who's never tasted them?


Sounds and looks delicious, I have a huge bag of organic carrots and I wasn't sure what to do with them, now I know! Such a lovely mixture of ingredients.


I love Diana Henry's work but had overlooked these amazing sounding carrots. Thank you for pointing them out, Heidi. I'm headed to the kitchen right now to make them.

deborah madison

Now this is a carrot dish I need to make. Love the inspired flavors here!

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

Such an interesting, fun combination of flavors. Must try!

Ciao Florentina

You used 7 photographs yet failed to say who created them. Who was the photographer?

HS: Hi Terry - Laura Edwards did the gorgeous photography, I've linked her up above.

Terry Thomas / Food Photographer / Atlanta

These are gorgeous! What a fun combination of ingredients!

Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen

I've been collecting Diana Henry's books over the years, too. I always feel like I've been away exploring the world when I browse through them. And the photography and styling is just beautiful. Thanks for pointing out this delicious recipe.


Wow, wow, wow!!!!!! I'll be making these this weekend and cannot wait!!! Even better is your idea for leftovers--- fold them into a pita with arugula and hard boiled eggs. Yum!!!! Thank for you for continuing to inspire us. I've been loving your stuff for years and years!!!!!


Thank you for sharing this and will definitely look out for the cookbook, but meanwhile... cant wait to try these yummy sounding carrots!!!


Wow! to both the carrots with their wonderful list of ingredients and to your most inviting description of them. I can't wait to make them. And thank you for introducing me to the world of Diana Henry.


This elevates carrots to a whole new level. Beautiful. xx

Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewife

I'm in! Your description makes these carrots sound so compelling that I can't wait to give them a try!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth

What a beautiful cookbook. There is just no end to people's creativity with food, and thank god for it.


The pictures in that book look incredible and I love your description - those carrots sound amazing! I think I'll be trying them out this weekend! xx Becky

Becky Kozak

Roast Figs Sugar Snow is one of all time favorite cookbooks. Excited to find that she has another out.


wow diana these food look amazing - you have a wonderful gift.


Look very good...don't know if Dad will eat them, but I am going to make them.

becky wyse

Again, I am gobsmacked - this is amazing! I love how saffron holds such a strong flavour and yet works so well in both sweet and savoury cooking and baking. This dish is so versatile, and I cannot even try to imagine the flavour combination... I want this! x

Jules @ WolfItDown

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