Salads tend to be seen as warm weather food, but it is always important to eat raw food throughout the year for its dynamic nutrient content, and while tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and basil are ideal in summer, in winter I am looking for something more robust, even warming if one can consider a raw salad warming! Carrots invariably make a regular appearance in my vegetable box at this time of the year and their nutritional wealth encourages me to use them raw as much as possible.
So what are carrots’ dietary talents? Plenty of fibre of course, and a popular food for our gut bacteria; lots of beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, so good for vision, growth and development, and immune function; potassium to support healthy blood pressure; B vitamins such as Biotin which is important for fat and protein metabolism and Vitamin B6 for blood coagulation; lutein for eye health and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant; and they can also help lower cholesterol. So let’s get eating plenty of carrots!
This salad is gutsy and bold, with plenty of texture, flavour and contrasts as well as nutritional value and is easy to make. I like to use organic garam masala from Steenbergs of Yorkshire as it is very aromatic and nicely spiced, with a good hint of sweetness.
INDIAN CARROT SALAD
40 g dessicated coconut
175 g carrots, scrubbed and coarsely grated
1 medium size ripe mango, peeled and diced
20 g fresh coriander/cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 large lime, zest and juice
20 g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced – leave the seeds in for extra heat
15 ml/1 tsp garam masala
75 ml/6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50 g rocket leaves, washed - optional
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the coconut in a frying pan over medium heat and cook, stirring very often, until golden, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a roomy bowl, gently stir together all the remaining ingredients except the rocket, salt and pepper. The salad can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for up to two hours in advance if it is convenient. Bring it back to room temperature before completing it.
When you are ready to serve, add the coconut, rocket, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss lightly to combine.
Check the seasoning and serve immediately.