3 August 2012

Simple Asian Carrot Salad

Gold, silver bronze....!! Is watching all these super fit Olympic athletes making you feel slightly sluggish and out of shape? Well here's the perfect summer dish which might help. Crunchy raw carrots are a wonderful and healthy accompaniment to many dishes both hot and cold. Coleslaw is popular but for a change we thought you might like to try this simple Asian version which drops the mayonnaise. Here we suggest using just carrots but white cabbage, celeriac and mooli (daikon) are delicious mixed in too. This carrot salad which is best made a little in advance is incredibly versatile and great as a side to grilled chicken, red meat and fish or even pasta dishes such as lasagne and chilli con carne where the hot/cold contrast plays with the taste buds and lends interest. The quantities below are a guide. You are looking for a pleasant balance between the acidic ingredients the salt and the sweet and you'll only really achieve that by tasting. The recipe calls for a little mirin widely used in Japanese cooking. It's sweet and may contain a little alcohol but once you have it in the cupboard you will start finding many uses for it. Rice wine vinegar also called rice vinegar is one step more in the process which creates rice wine. It is also far more acidic. By the way sultanas or chopped dates or apricots will add a fruity note for variety. The mix will keep in the fridge for several days but the acids will "cook" the carrots slowly softening them.

Bright cheerful and healthy crunchiness



Ingredients

2 tbsps mirin
2 tbsps rice wine vinegar
1 1tbsp honey
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp salt
handful chopped walnuts
1 tsp black sesame seeds
4 to 5 carrots peeled and grated





Method

Mix the first seven ingredients in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Grate the carrots in a food processor (we find the julienne attachment gives the best results) and place in a mixing bowl. Pour in the marinade and mix well. Leave for a few minutes for the flavours to blend and the walnuts to soften slightly and loose their bitterness. The salt will draw a little moisture out of the carrots but don't worry this is normal. Either drain off or mix back into the grated carrot. Serve slightly chilled with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

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