Yesterday, while driving home, I started contemplating what to make for dinner. I mentally scanned through everything that was in the fridge and thought about what I could use to turn into a cohesive meal. My mind drifted to the big bunch of carrots I had received in my CSA. I thought about roasting them, but it didn’t seem quite summery enough. Then, suddenly, I had a very intense flavor flashback. I’m not sure what the right term for it is, but I could suddenly taste what it was my mind had been searching for. It was almost like a flavor memory. My mind shot back to sitting around the table at the house I grew up, and I could taste this sweet, sour, and mildly spicy carrot dish that we commonly made when I was growing up. I couldn’t quite put my finger on all the ingredients, so I called my parents (hands free, of course) and described what I was remembering to them. They gave me the recipe, and I rushed home and made it. It was every bit as delicious as my memory told me it would be and those happy memories of growing up eating incredible food were reinforced once again.
The dish itself is what we in Gujarat would refer to as a salad. Because it’s too hot to grow leafy greens, most of our salad dishes are raw or mostly raw vegetables with some seasoning. Here, in the US, this dish most closely resembles a slaw. It’s so quick to put together, that I didn’t even have time to take pictures of the “cooking” process, hence the two shots above. Because the carrots are the highlight of this dish, try to find the sweetest, most flavorful carrots you can. Please don’t buy the pre-shredded carrots as they just won’t be as “juicy” as the ones you shred yourself. To start, shred the carrots on the large hole of the box grater. Thinly slice a jalapeno, grate some ginger, and chop up some cilantro and carrot fronds if you have them. Then, heat oil in a large wok or saucepan until it’s very hot and throw in some black mustard seeds. These will pop, so it’s important to be careful and not let them burn. Once the seeds have finished popping, throw all of the veggies into the wok, kill the heat, and toss. This slaw is seasoned with salt, sugar, and lots of lime juice. It’s unexpectedly delicious, more than the sum of its parts. It’s crisp and juicy, salty and sweet, spicy and sour. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope that you are able to create some beautiful food memories when you make it!
Ginger Jalapeno Carrot Slaw ~ Gajar nu Salad
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 4 as a side||Total:|
A refreshing carrot slaw with tempered mustard, ginger, jalapeno, and lots of lime. A perfect summer side!
- 1 pound carrots
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, minced (reserve some for garnish)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed carrot top fronds, minced (optional) (reserve some for garnish)
- 1.5 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1/2-1 tsp sugar, depending on how sweet your carrots are
- Juice of 1/2 lime, or more to taste
- Salt to taste
- Shred the carrot on the large holes of a box grater. Thinly slice the jalapeno.
- Heat the oil in the base of a wok or saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers and when you pass your hand over it, it is very warm. Carefully add the mustard seeds, and cover leaving the lid slightly ajar. Allow the seeds to pop. When the popping subsides, quickly turn off the heat, add the carrot, ginger, jalapeno, most of the cilantro, and most of the carrot top fronds if using and stir to combine. Add a few pinches of salt, the sugar, and the lime juice. Stir well. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Garnish with additional cilantro and carrot top fronds and serve.