29 March 2011

recipe: spicy cumin seed and lime carrot salad

I came up with this carrot salad in my head shortly upon waking up a couple of weeks ago, hoping to make it soon. I usually have carrots around, but rarely more than 3 or 4 at any given moment. I didn't make it to the farmer's market last week, but was in dire need of groceries and impulsively picked up a 5 pound bag of organic carrots (at a great price!) with the knowledge that carrot salad time was near! And it didn't disappoint.

spicy cumin seed and lime carrot salad
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1.5 tablespoons olive or canola oil
generous 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (or, substitute with ground cumin, using slightly less)
pinch red chili flakes
1.5 lbs carrots (about 6 medium), grated
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon agave or honey (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pumpkin seeds, toasted*2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the oil and cumin seeds in a small pan over medium high heat, warming the oil for 2 minutes or so-- until the cumin seeds start to swim around and sizzle. Quickly turn off the heat and remove the pan to a different (cool) burner. Add in the chili flakes. [Note: if using ground cumin, heat the oil on its own and add cumin in with chili flakes.]

While you wait for the oil to cool, combine the carrots, lime juice and zest, and agave or honey if using. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Once the oil is no longer piping hot, combine it with the carrot mixture, test again for seasoning and then mix in the pumpkin seeds. Garnish with cilantro.

This will keep well in the fridge for a few days, and just gets tastier!

Note: If you have a food processor with a grating disc, it makes very quick work grating the carrots! But using a box grater is easy, too.

*Toasting Pumpkin Seeds: Put the chopped seeds in a small skillet and heat over medium high for about 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan often, until they puff up, start to brown slightly, and start to smell delicious. Turn the heat down if things are moving too fast! Remove them from the heat and transfer to a bowl immediately.

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