I can only think of an inquisitive person or an ‘oddball’ to have tried experimenting with the carrot leaves as it is often a cast-off product.
The reason we don’t find carrot tops more often is because even after they leave the ground, the greens continue to draw moisture and energy from the root, so they’re removed to preserve the carrots. Seldom, carrot tops are sold by marketing them as leafy greens.
To my surprise, when I saw a few recipes with carrot leaves, only then did I know its edible. Some people say, carrot tops are toxic because they contain alkaloids (which are toxic bitter compounds produced by a plant).Some say, the leaves of root vegetables tend to be more healthful than the roots themselves. But All leafy greens (including spinach and kale) contain varying levels and types of alkaloids. Carrot tops happen to be culturally not popular hence not known to many.
Taste of Carrot leaves – Herbaceous and astringent. They are coarse and grainy when raw. The stems taste like celery.
In vada, the leaves tasted like grated raw mango but with no tartness. It sure has a very intense flavor.
½ cup of Toor dal
½ cup of Chana dal
½ cup of washed and chopped carrot greens
3 green chilies OR 3 dried red chilies
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 tbsp Semolina
Salt as required
Oil for deep frying
Water if required
Makes around 15 vadas
- Wash thoroughly and soak toor dal and chana dal together with 2 cups of water for 2 -3 hours. Not More as the vada will be very soft if you soak for a long time.
- After the dals have soaked, strain and remove excess water. Transfer the dal , chillies, salt, onion to the blender and grind it coarse.
- Remove the above mixture to a bowl, add chopped carrot greens, semolina and mix well.
- You should be able to shape them like small cutlets. If not add a few drops of water if the mixture is too dry OR add little semolina if the mixture is too soft.
- Heat oil for deep frying. Once the oil is heated, take 1 tbsp of the mixture and pat it on your palm to form circular discs of ¼ inch thick and slide them gently and carefully in hot oil.
- Fry till both sides are golden brown and serve HOT.
NOTE: The flavour of the greens is so strong that adding asafoetida and coconut(which is a common ingredient in vada) will make no difference but you can still use it if you prefer.
If you want to know more about the nutritional value, you can find the information here.