Frozen Carrots Speed Up Morning Cooking

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Carrots with tuna and eggs are served on a plate along with spicy and sour soup with pork and carrots in a bowl.

When the cold weather makes it a struggle to get out of bed, using frozen ingredients might make your day a little easier when you’re running behind. Culinary researcher Miyuki Shimamoto understands these troubles and sat down with The Yomiuri Shimbun to talk about incorporating frozen carrots into meals.

During the New Year holidays, I made bento box lunches for my 12-year-old son every morning, and it kept me very busy. He was studying all day for his junior high school entrance exams, even on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

I was determined to wake up early every morning to make him a homemade bento, but on the second day, I overslept and had to use store-bought frozen fried chicken.

While I was making his lunches, I felt guilty that I knew how to make only a few vegetable side dishes. I know how to make many different types of meat dishes, but cherry tomatoes or boiled broccoli were basically the only fruits and vegetables my son had in his lunch every day. I wanted to incorporate some root vegetables, but I just never had time to prepare them in the morning.

Shimamoto suggested that I use frozen carrots. After slicing carrots into thin strips, place the equivalent of one carrot into each freezer bag. After the carrots have been in the freezer for about an hour, take out the bags and shake them. This is very important. “[By shaking the bags], the carrot slices separate and are easy to cook,” Shimamoto said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A bag of frozen thinly sliced carrots

Frozen carrots can be stored in the freezer for about a month, so you can prepare them whenever you have time.

Shimamoto shared a recipe for stir-fried carrots with tuna and eggs, made with the frozen carrots. This dish is brightly colored and perfect for bento boxes.

Stir-fried carrots with tuna and eggs

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 bag frozen thinly sliced carrots
  • 70 grams canned tuna
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp dashi soup stock granules
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sake
  • White sesame seeds, as desired


1. Place the canned tuna, including its juices, into a frying pan on medium heat with the sesame oil. Add the frozen carrots to the pan and stir-fry.

2. When the carrots soften, season with the sugar, soy sauce and sake. Then add the dashi soup stock granules. Beat the eggs and pour them evenly into the pan, as if drawing spirals. Stir-fry the ingredients until everything is cooked.

3. Serve on a plate and sprinkle white sesame seeds on top.

Shimamoto also told me about a spicy and sour soup with pork and carrots.

Spicy, sour soup with pork, carrots

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 bag frozen thinly sliced carrots
  • 100 grams thinly sliced pork back ribs
  • 1 egg
  • 400 milliliters water
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp chicken soup stock
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp katakuriko potato starch
  • Rayu spicy oil, as desired
  • Chopped green onions, as desired


1. Slice the pork back ribs into 1-centimeter-wide strips. Add the sesame oil to a pan and cook the pork.

2. Add the water, sake, chicken soup stock and soy sauce to the pan. When it comes to a boil, add the carrots and let the dish cook for a bit.

3. Mix the katakuriko potato starch with 1 tablespoon of water. Pour the mixture into the pan to thicken the soup. Then beat one egg and pour it over the top, as if drawing a circle. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar. Serve the soup in bowls and add rayu spicy oil and chopped green onions.

The soup is great for cold days as its spiciness warms you up and its sour taste makes you feel refreshed.