I’ve not yet been to Morocco but have long been a fan of its flavourful cuisine. This tasty salad may have a deceptively simple appearance but it boasts a complex, utterly satisfying flavour. Lovely on its own, it would also be an ideal side dish with grilled meats of all sorts, particularly chicken. The combination of seasonings is very typical of many Moroccan dishes and it’s worth hunting down the harissa, a hot chili paste that hails from Tunisia originally but is now used in a number of different countries. You can usually find harissa at stores that sell African or Middle-Eastern ingredients; it’s inexpensive and you can put the remainder of the paste in a zip lock bag and freeze it so you can break off little pieces every time you want some harissa to spice up your life. These same seasonings would be delightful on roasted potatoes – I plan to try that soon!
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds *
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon harissa **
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
¼ sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 large or 3 medium carrots, well scrubbed and coarsely grated
salt and pepper to taste
* you can substitute with ¼ teaspoon purchased ground coriander though it doesn’t have the same citrusy taste as the freshly ground seeds which are yummy in all sorts of things
** Use ¼ teaspoon cayenne if you can’t find harissa.
- Use a mortar and pestle (or a bowl and the bottom of a small drinking glass) to crush the coriander seeds. Put coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, harissa, and honey in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add olive oil, lemon and orange juices; whisk again until well blended.
- Add grated carrots, mint and onions then toss gently to combine well.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.
Note: I like including grated vegetables in a lot of my salads and soups so I was pretty intrigued when asked to test out a new gadget called the T-fal Fresh Express. It’s essentially an electric grater that makes really quick work out of grating, shredding and slicing both hard and soft foods – everything from carrots, potatoes and beets to parmesan and cheddar cheeses. The other thing I like about using this device for grating, instead of a food processor, is that it’s really quick to clean. I think it would be a great gift for a novice cook as it’s easy to use and really speeds up prep time in the kitchen. Here’s my setup – it grated 3 carrots in about 20 seconds (and kept my knuckles completely intact):