"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Monday, April 19, 2010

Moroccan Carrot Salad

My good friend and I decided to make gyros for dinner. I peaked into a falafel shop to see what toppings they were serving with their shawarma and I saw this lovely looking carrot salad. I have heard of Moroccan carrot salads before, but I had yet to make one. The ginger in this salad is what really brought the whole thing together. Also, I recommend making this few hours before you plan to eat it because it really tastes much better after the ingredients have set for a few hours. Carrots used raw in salads is a relatively new addition to our culinary history. Europeans would eat carrot cooked in stews however it was primarily in Northwestern Africa that raw carrots became a feature of salads. Since then the raw carrot salad has spread east to Israel and it is now a typical Rosh Hashanah dish. Also, I found that raw carrot salads were frequently served as accompaniments to at Israeli restaurants with bread, pickles, hummus and cabbage salad. There are a number of different ways to make this salad and had I had some harissa (a northwest African chili paste) I certainly would have used that! I used basil in this carrot salad because I didn't have any fresh mint, however feel free to swap the basil and mint. Other options for ingredients that would taste good in this include orange juice, orange blossom water, or a little bit of plain yogurt. Enjoy your leftovers for lunch or with couscous! Here is a picture of the carrot salad with the other gyro accompaniments:
Moroccan Carrot Salad

1 lb carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 small green chilies, minced

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to two days.
2. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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