This crunchy Gujarati carrot salad with black mustard seeds, gajar nu salat, is a fresh and healthy dish to enjoy as an accompaniment to most main dishes.
This carrot salad is rather like a poriyal or dry vegetable dish, but the vegetables aren’t cooked.
My grandmother was not a great fan of salads. She was most concerned about eating food that hadn’t been cooked. She held the opinion that you could only make salads safely from vegetables that required peeling. Raw tomato, for example, was just not allowed as it was likely to carry all manner of bacteria that washing alone wouldn’t remove.
Given her formative years were in India at the turn of the twentieth century, without modern agricultural practices and ubiquitous refrigeration, you can possibly understand her opinion. This opinion was shared by many at that time too, but times have changed.
Her requirements for this and similar dishes had the vegetables washed in one area of the kitchen, then peeled in another. This was done, according to her notes, under nearly medical standards of hygiene.
This salad meets her food preparation standards as it is made with a vegetable that requires peeling.
It is a very traditional Gujerati dish that has become very common throughout India, but it does not seem to have travelled outside India very much. We enjoy this as a summer dish to go with some simple drier dishes like the Bengali prawns.
- Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard and cumin seeds and fry whilst stirring. When mustard seeds start popping remove from the heat and add chilli, salt and turmeric. Stir well, allow to cool for five minutes.
- Pour spices and oil over carrots then add lemon juice. Mix well, cover, and chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, toss well and serve with lemon wedges.
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