Mustard Seed and Curry Leaf Carrot Salad

Tempered spices (aka chhonk, or tadka) + lime + salt + grated raw vegetables = a quartet of freshness, texture, and balanced flavor -- it will become your new go-to technique for salads. The key is choosing a vegetable that doesn't get super wilty and spices that will add texture but not overwhelm. Here's my favorite version, which uses carrots (their natural sweetness goes well with bitter, earthy spices), and the South Indian spice combo of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Try this with other vegetables -- cucumbers, beets, and radishes would all work great -- or test out another combination of spices, like cumin seeds, red chile powder, and dried red chiles. The mix-and-match possibilities are endless.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

4 large carrots, grated

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime), plus more if needed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed

Directions

  1. In a small pan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the black mustard seeds and 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. Combine the carrots and the oil mixture in a bowl, add the lime juice and salt, and mix well. Taste and adjust the lime juice and salt, if needed.