We’re solidly in Spring now, with flowers everywhere and longer days to enjoy. The most recent Thrive Kitchen class explored ways to enjoy Spring Vegetables. What comes to mind for you? Spring makes me think of carrots, asparagus, radishes, and peas. Bell peppers and arugula are in season, and if you look at the seasonality charts, mangoes are in season somewhere! So these were my inspirations for the latest class menu.
As always, I thought about how to use these happily readily available vegetables and prepare them in less expected ways, using the power of herbs, spices and flavors from around the world. Of the many dishes we prepared, one of the standout surprise hits (surprise because it looks like just a pile of grated carrots) is this grated carrot salad from my beloved and soon soon-to-be-defunct Lucky Peach. I like this recipe because it is absolutely delicious and also demonstrates several cooking maxims:
1) the simplest recipes are often the best
3) the Indian method of tempering spices in oil to release aromatics is a simple technique that has a big impact on flavor and
3) this is an example of a dish whose flavors will only improve with time, which makes it a great potluck dish
The trickiest ingredient in this to obtain are the curry leaves, which you’ll have to get from an Indian market. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you make a trip to get some, get extra and either freeze or dehydrate the rest for later use. There’s really no substitute for the unique flavor of curry leaves, but if you absolutely cannot get them, I would substitute a half cup of chopped cilantro to this salad (but do not add to the oil, use fresh). So time to get out your box grater and get to work!
Grated Carrot Salad with Black Mustard Seed and Curry Leaves
Adapted from Lucky Peach Power Vegetables
4 carrots, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 sprig fresh curry leaf, leaves only
1 tsp black mustard seed
juice of one lime
kosher salt, to taste
- Warm oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
- Add mustard seeds and allow to cook until they start popping in the pan.
- Add curry leaves and then turn off heat. Allow to cool in pan.
- Place grated carrots in a bowl.
- Add cooled spiced oil and lime juice to the carrots and mix well with a fork. Add salt, a pinch at a time, to taste.
Nutrition Info: 81 cal, fat 7 g, protein 1 g, sodium 35 mg, sugar 2 g
Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.
Mustard seeds are an excellent source of selenium and a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and manganese.
Curry leaves are thought to be anti-inflammatory.
You’re invited to join my healthy eating community on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/TheDoctorsSpicebox! And if you’d like to cook with me, visit the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Health Education webpage for information about the Thrive Kitchen and to register for a class. Registration opens exactly one month before each class.
The next class, Healthy Chinese Cooking, is on 5/23 and registration opens TOMORROW 4/24, so don’t miss your chance! To your health!