Any vegetable can be turned into a curry, but carrots are a natural because they hold their shape and have such a nice natural sweetness.
This vegetable curry makes an excellent accompaniment to fish or chicken, and it becomes a lovely vegetarian entrée when you add fragrant basmati rice and chewy naan (Indian bread) or crunchy pappadums (Indian crispbread).
To save prep time, use Earthbound Farm Organic Mini Peeled Carrots instead of whole carrots.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, mustard, star anise and curry leaves, stirring very frequently.
When the seeds have stopped sizzling and popping, add the onion and jalapeño. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes, watching to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.
Add the curry powder, chili powder, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel, and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, carrots, salt and 2 tablespoons of water, and cover the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the lime juice and serve immediately.
NOTE: The curry (or “kari”) tree is native to India, and its leaves are used in many dishes in India and throughout Southeast Asia. Though the leaves are often used in curries and are referred to as “curry leaves,” they have no relationship to prepared curry powder. Their name is also sometimes translated as “sweet neem leaves.” As interest in Asian cuisines grows in the US, you can find fresh and dried curry leaves in Asian and other well-stocked specialty markets; you can also find them online.