The key to this uncomplicated dish is the tadka, or infused heated oil that, when mixed with the lime, creates a bright, fresh salad dressing. Tadka is foundational to Indian cooking, and it works with almost any raw vegetable you can think of (it’s also the base of many stir fried vegetables). Learn the method, and you have another flavor trick up your sleeve.
Mustard Seed and Curry Leaf Carrot Salad [Vegan]
- 6 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 3-4 curry leaves
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Pinch coconut or regular sugar
- Salt to taste
- Place the carrots in a mixing bowl.
- Warm the oil on medium heat in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves, and cook until the seeds start to pop, 1-2 minutes. The seeds and oil may splatter. Don’t be alarmed. You can cover the pan until the popping stops, and turn off the heat.
- Carefully pour the oil with the spices over the carrots and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the lime juice, sugar, and salt and combine. Taste and adjust the salt. Serve at room temperature or cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Skip the salt and serve it to baby as messy but delicious finger food.
The curry leaves can be eaten or picked out but their lovely aroma, and flavor will be integrated into the dish no matter what. Fresh curry leaves are available at almost every South Asian market. If you can’t get your hands on curry leaves, you can still make a delicious salad without them.