Parboiling makes dense, slow-cooking vegetables tender. The process works especially well for carrots and other root vegetables that may have a longer cooking time than the other ingredients in a dish. Partially cooking carrots before adding them to a quick-cooking recipe, such as a soup or stir-fry, ensures the carrots are cooked through and tender without having to overcook the quicker-cooking vegetables in the meal.
Wash and peel the carrots. Cut the carrots into the desired size pieces with a sharp knife on a cutting board.
Fill a pot with water. Use 1.9 litres (2 quarts) of water for every 450 g (1 lb) of carrots.
Bring the water to the boil. Add the carrots to the boiling water.
Boil whole baby carrots or carrot slices that are 2.5 cm (1 inch) or larger for five minutes. Boil diced carrots or slices smaller than this for two to three minutes.
Drain the carrots into a colander. Add the warm carrots to the remaining ingredients and finish cooking them as directed in the recipe.
You can parboil carrots ahead of time to save time during meal preparation. Store the partially cooked carrots in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.