It is a huge challenge to get my elder son to eat any vegetable or fruit. He categorically refuses. In fact, for a while I resorted to pureeing and “hiding” the vegetables in main meals and sauces. He won’t eat anything that he can actively identify as a vegetable. However, I have had success in getting him to eat “glazed” carrots if they are sweet enough, and, most recently, these five-spice carrots. This is a great side dish for any Asian-influenced meal.
Five-spice powder is an Asian spice mix that most commonly contains star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, and fennel seeds. If you can’t find it in your local Asian store, there is a recipe here. The Chinese believe that everything you consume whether it be food or drink or spice has either a warming or a cooling quality. This makes sense to me. Think about the effect that a cucumber (cooling) has on you when you eat it, as opposed to an onion (warming). Or think about the effect of a watermelon (cooling) as opposed to a pineapple (warming). Or mint (cooling) and nutmeg (warming). Five-spice powder contains warm-to-hot spices, which help make the neutral carrots a warming dish, and thereby good for the winter months.
Here’s a lovely chart from tasteofherbs.com that explains which spices are are warming and which ones are cooling. I refer to it often in the summer and winter months.
I have specified that you should cut the carrots on a diagonal. In Chinese cuisine, many vegetables are cut on the diagonal because it provides a better balance of yin and yang, high and low, and thereby increases the “harmony” in the dish. Also, they just look nice that way.
Five-spice glazed carrots
This easy recipe for glazed carrots makes a nice side dish for any Asian-influenced meal.