This recipe is adapted from Priya Krishna‘s cookbook, Indian-ish. Tempered spices (also known as chhonk or tadka) are the flavor-boosting addition to a wide variety of sabzis (cooked vegetable dishes) and dals (lentil soups). This simple carrot salad—fragrant with curry leaves, mustard seeds, and lime juice—lets the spices truly shine. Feel free to use the basic formula for any number of vegetables besides carrots; just choose one that doesn’t get super wilty, like sliced cucumbers or radishes, or grated raw beets. The spice blend too is endlessly adaptable: Try swapping in toasted cumin seeds and red chile powder or dried red chiles for a version with more heat. The mix-and-match possibilities are endless.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 8 fresh curry leaves
- 4 large carrots (12 oz.), peeled and grated (3 cups)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
- In a small pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the black mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to pop and dance around in the oil, which should be within seconds, remove the pan from the heat. Add the curry leaves, making sure they get fully coated in the oil (there may be more popping and splattering, and that’s okay!). The leaves should immediately crisp up in the residual heat. Transfer the oil mixture to a heat resistant bowl, then add the carrots, lime juice, and salt. Toss well to coat the carrots in the dressing, then taste and adjust with additional lime juice and salt, if needed. Serve at room temperature.