What’s a girl to do with too many carrot? Make a slaw, of course! They store well for a few days and are a great way add a little something extra to each meal. Plus, it was a good excuse to use my handy-dandy “julienner”, which has been sitting in storage for way too long. I love this food gadget for it’s two-in-one deal—instant fancy vegetables in minutes! I am not one for lots of gadgets, but a tool that makes cooking easier and my food more fun is worth my investment. If you don’t have one, you can use a grater or cut them thinly with a sharp knife. I did this for many years, and my wrists are grateful for the break.
Having a slaw to eat throughout the week is a nice way to pump up or enhance the flavor of a simple meal. Growing up it was common to eat slaws or freshly cured veggies with our meals—especially with a daal (lentil soup) and rice. Incorporating a little into each bite adds a nice crunch and zest of freshness making a simple meal fabulous. I also find slaws are a great way to satisfy a multitude of tastes (and prevent cravings) like sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter, and pungent.
This slaw is infused with has all my favorite Desi spices using a method referred to as vagaar or tarka. Vagaars are commonly used to finish a dish. The method helps to release the oils and aroma of spices by quickly adding them to hot oil. It’s a very fast and easy process—the key is to have everything ready to go. I have included the step by step below. Enjoy the process—it’s a great method to add some warming digestive aides to the slaw (or any dish). Spice it up!
Season: Fall (vata), Winter/Spring (kapha)
Time to make: 15-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 (depends on how you enjoy it)
You need: a julienner, a mandolin or a sharp knife & hand power
- 3 cups julienned carrots (or thin slices)
- 2 T shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- 3 T chopped cilantro
- 4-5 curry leaves (optional)
- 1-2 tsp finely diced serrano chilies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 T of golden raisins (optional if the carrots super sweet)
- 3 T sesame/coconut/sunflower oil
- 1 1/2 T lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp pink/sea salt
Step 1: Mix the carrots & salt together and set aside for 5-7 mins. Give the salt some time to softened the carrots and release some water—you can encourage this my mixing it every few minutes.
Step 2. Once the carrots have softened a bit and a little water is released, add the coconut and cilantro. No need to mix this in as you will pour the hot oil infusion on top of this and then mix it all at once. This gives the carrots a few more minutes to soak up the salt and ‘cook’ from it’s heat.
Step 3: For your vagaar/taarka, have all the ingredients ready. I like to measure them out and keep them close to the stove. Having everything ready will help create a smooth process as the vagaar happens quickly.
Heat the oil in a SMALL pot on medium-high heat. If your pot is too wide, the oil will spread out and you want a small ‘pool of oil’. Once your oil is hot (not smoking), in this order add: curry leaves, green chilis, cumin and mustard seeds. Swirl your pot or use a wooden spoon. There should be a little popping, and lots of good aroma in the air as soon. If this is not the case, the oil was not hot enough (it may take a little longer). The whole process is quick and takes less than 45 seconds. Be careful not too over toast the cumin seeds. Remove from heat, add the ginger—sizzle! Immediately add the hot oil to your salad—here it sizzle again! Mix well.
Step 4: Add lemon juice and mix again.
Serve at room temperature—be kind to your digestive fire by avoiding cold foods. This slaw stores nicely for 3-4 days in the fridge.
in a sandwich or a wrap
on top of a simple creamy soup
in a lettuce based or quinoa salad
with a curry, stir fry, bbq, daal and rice, etc…(mix it in with every bite)
Tastes: Sweet(coconut, oil), Salt, Sour(lemon), Pungent(chilies, seeds, ginger), Astringent(carrots, cilantro), Bitter(cumin)
Doshas: Vata favor sesame oil; Pitta favor coconut oil and reduce ginger and chilies by half (especially if you have an imbalance); Kapha favor sunflower oil, or choose either coconut or coconut oil. If there is an imbalance skip coconut entirely especially in the spring. This dish is nicely balanced for all doshas with all tastes and between heating and cooling energy—enjoy everything in balance.
Carrots are an antioxidant food, rich in vitamin A (terrific for the eyes), K, C, B6, fiber, potassium, thiamine and beta-carotene. When eaten raw, they are astringent in taste, where as when cooked they are sweet in taste. Both ways, carrots are still heating. Embrace in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Raw carrots can be hard on the digestion, give your digestion a helping hand, by cutting them small and curing them in salt/lemon juice, juicing them and lubricating them with some oil.