Cool Off With Crunchy, Fragrant Tadka Carrot Salad

Just turn on the burner to warm the cumin-mustard seed-scented oil for this carrot salad. That's all the cooking required.
Just turn on the burner to warm the cumin-mustard seed-scented oil for this carrot salad. That’s all the cooking required.

When the day brings a record-setting scorcher, what better way to cool off and still ignite the taste buds than with a veggie salad full of delicious warming spices?

“Tadka Carrot Salad with Cumin, Coriander & Mustard Seed Dressing” is the simplest of recipes that delivers all of that.

It’s from the new cookbook, “Khazana: A Treasure Trove of Indo-Persian Recipes Inspired by the Mughals” (Mobius), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, a doctor who triumphed on “MasterChef” in 2017 with her creative Indo-Persian food.

“Khazana,” which means “treasure trove” in Arabic, is full of recipes that are accessible yet offer up a taste of something new and vibrant. Feast on everything from “Cheese, Cumin, Mint & Walnut Breads with Saffron Butter” and “Lamb Mince in a Poppy Seed & Almond Sauce” to “Roast Kashmiri Duck” and “Roasted Grapes & Homemade Paneer Cheese.”

If all you’re used to is the nostalgic carrot salad with raisins, canned pineapple and mayo, this one will make your palate turn somersaults.

The only cooking that you have to do is turn on the burner to warm brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric and chili flakes in vegetable oil until it’s infused with their lusty earthy, piquant flavors.

Pour this hot oil all over grated carrots, before adding cilantro, lemon juice, honey, and salt — and voila — you’re done.

This carrot salad is a little spicy, a bit earthy, and balanced with a fair amount of sweetness.

It makes a simple little lunch all on its own. Or a bright side dish to grilled chicken, turkey burgers or shrimp kebabs.

And it’s a no-brainer on a sweltering day.

Crunchy, sweet, and just a little spicy.
Crunchy, sweet, and just a little spicy.

Tadka Carrot Salad with Cumin, Coriander & Mustard Seed Dressing

(Serves 2 to 4)

1 pound of carrots, peeled and grated

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

1 heaped tablespoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon chili flakes

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), leaves and stalks finely chopped

Juice of 1 large lemon

3 tablespoons honey

Salt, to taste

Squeeze out any excess moisture from the grated carrot and put it into a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat until it is very hot but not quite at smoking point. First add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the hot oil — they should start sizzling and popping immediately — then add the turmeric and chili flakes, stirring quickly to prevent the spices from burning. Carefully pour the hot oil onto the grated carrots. Stand back from the pan, as the spices may pop.

Add the chopped coriander to the carrots along with lemon juice, honey, and plenty of salt. Stir all the ingredients well and serve the salad at room temperature.

From “Khazana” by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed

More Recipes to Enjoy On A Hot Day: Charred Padron Peppers or Shishitos with Goat Cheese and Sage

And: Cured Watermelon Crudo

And: Hummus with White Miso

And: Grilled Chicken Puttanesca

And: Blackberry Sorbet

And: Hoisin-Glazed Lamb Burger

And: Beach House Pasta with Shrimp and Grilled Limes

And: Chilled Soba Noodles with Spicy Orange Sesame and Tofu

And: Japanese-Style Tuna Noodle Salad

And: Cauliflower Salad with Eggs and Anchovies

And: Corn, Tomato and Scallion Salad

And: Farro and Tomato Salad with Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette

And: Grilled Romaine with Feta and Nuoc Cham

And: Fig, Walnut and Freekeh Salad

And: New England Fish Sandwiches

And: Glazed Grilled Salmon

And: Cherry Tomato & Tofu Salad

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