Spring is fast approaching and I am very excited – I love new beginnings, and this would seem the time for lush and abundant vegetables and fruit. Maybe not so much?
As always happens, just when I start longing for springs perceived abundance, the reality hits and in truth I am a little bit premature in my thinking and in reality this is the time of the year in the south of New Zealand, when there is little in the way of abundance, last seasons produce is all but exhausted and this seasons not quite ready . This situation requires a little creativity in order to get my taste of spring.
Today it means using one of the few stars/work horses of the vegetable world, one that can survive the winter – the always available, humble and affordable carrot!
Although this is a salad trying to welcome the change of seasons, it is still pretty comforting and as I am made to remember by the snow flakes on the weather map, the truth is that this is still the tail end of winter.
This salad can take you through all the seasons though and is lively and substantial. The star of the salad is in the flavours brought by the curry powder – have some fun in the local deli and choose one made with care – you can use the same spice mix as in the http://Week Night Indian Spiced Fish Parcels . Then, to make this salad something special, lightly pan fry the raisins or sultanas and cashews in a pan with some olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and some of the curry powder (about 1 teaspoonful) – watch as the sultanas plump up in the heat and take care to only just singe them lightly, because of their high sugar content they will burn quickly). I use pre roasted cashews as there is just enough time to refresh them, not to actually roast them.
Finally, and optionally, today I have added roasted chickpeas. These chickpeas are so delicious they could almost be a recipe in themselves and are definitely something I recommend you try if you haven’t tried these already. They make an amazing snack food any time, although sadly they will loose the crunch after a few hours but they do still maintain a chewy deliciousness. They are great in this – or just about any – salad, adding another layer of taste, texture and flavour. They also make it into a much more substantial salad, if that is what you are looking for. If you want to keep the salad lighter just leave them out and it is still equally delicious.
BOMBAY CARROT SALAD
Enough for a substantial salad for three or four people. Makes a great refrigerator salad to snack on any time!
- 3 medium size carrots (enough for approximately three cups of grated carrot)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 -2 cups sliced greens such as spinach or kale….
- 2 spring onions chopped
- Handful of any or all of these fresh herbs – coriander, mint and or Vietnamese mint.
- Tablespoon of freshly grated ginger.
- Optional – tablespoon of freshly grated turmeric.
- Optional chopped fresh chilli.
- Optional 1 tablespoon poppy seeds.
- 1/2 cup sultanas or raisins.
- 1/2 cup roast cashews.
- Optional 1 cup cooked chickpeas.
- 2 teaspoons curry powder (more, if you like, can be added to the salad to boost curry flavour at the end if needed depending on your curry powders taste profile).
- Salt and Pepper.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil (lightly flavoured).
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar – more to taste if necessary.
If using chickpeas, preheat the oven to 180’c
Coat chickpeas lightly with olive oil salt and 1 tsp of curry powder and toast for approximately 20 minutes until lightly browned and crisp.
While the chick peas are cooking, warm a small pan over a medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and1 tsp curry powder. Warm the curry powder in the oil for a minute to freshen its flavours.
Add the cashews, sultanas or raisins, a pinch of salt and stir well. You want them to be coated in oil and spice and to cook evenly.
The sultanas or raisins will plump up and be cooked in a matter of minutes so don’t leave them alone! Once cooked put this mix aside to cool.
Assemble your fresh salad ingredients in a bowl – grated carrot, chopped celery, sliced greens, spring onions grated ginger, fresh herbs and optional Turmeric extra chopped fresh chilli, poppy seeds if desired, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Add sultana/cashew mix and chickpeas (if using) and toss well.
This is now ready to eat or to set aside for later. The flavours will develop as it sits and ,if anything, it will improve with time.
As always, give it a try and please let me know what you think and especially if you have any additions or improvements.