Monday, September 12, 2011

Cumin & Carrots

The oils were sizzling. The spices were blooming. My kitchen is still filled with the aromas of India, after a weekend of furious frying. My friend, Chef Tara Rajan and I hosted Indian Night to raise funds for an orphanage in Tamil Nadu (

Tara gave a lesson in spices and rices. More on the various rices in another post.  
Basmati rice

First, a spice or two...
Essential Indian spices. 
One of the key ingredients in Indian cooking (as well as in Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine) is cumin. Cumin comes from the same plant family as dill and parsley. The pale brown spice has a distinctive aroma. It also has numerous health benefits.

It contains vitamin C. It's a very good source of iron. As well, cumin stimulates digestion. The mere aroma of cumin is enough to stimulate the salivary glands, activating the first phase of digestion. A spoonful of cumin seeds in hot water helps relieve gas and bloating.

Cumin is one of the spices in Tara's carrot salad. The carrots are slightly cooked and dressed with a fragrant lime vinaigrette. The carrots taste bright and bold the next day after bathing in the seasonings.

Tara's Carrots in Coriander-Lime Vinaigrette 
Carrots in coriander-lime vinaigrette 

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of coriander, cinnamon, salt, sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons minced coriander leaves

Simmer carrots for about 5 minutes and drain.
Mix remaining ingredients.
Add to warm carrots.
Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4.

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