Cabbage and Carrot Thoran-style Salad (Indian Salad)
A surprising flavour combination that's knock-your-socks-off-good: Finely shredded cabbage and carrot are tossed with a spiced coconut Indian "sambal" of sorts. Based on the traditional Indian Thoran dry curry, this Indian Salad ridiculously delicious!Note: Pictured salad is a double batch of the recipe written below
Course: Side Salad
Keyword: coconut salad, Indian Salad
2tbspcoconut oil, unrefined (Note 1)
3/4tspblack mustard seeds(Note 2)
3eschalots (USA: shallots), finely diced (Note 3)
1/2onion(large), finely diced
3garlic cloves, finely minced
1green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (Note 4)
12curry leaves, fresh (Note 5)
1/2cupdesiccated coconut, unsweetened (Note 6)
1/4small red cabbage, very finely sliced (~6 cups)
2small carrots or 1 very large carrot, peeled and finely shredded
Melt oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
Add black mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds – they will pop and sizzle
Add cumin seeds and cook for 30 seconds.
Add eschalot and onion, cook for 3 minutes until translucent but not coloured.
Add garlic and green chilli, cook for 2 minutes until softened but not golden.
Add turmeric and curry leaves, cook for 30 seconds.
Add coconut, water and salt. Cook until water mostly evaporates – about 3 minutes.
Place carrot and cabbage in a large bowl. Add hot coconut mixture. Toss well – the cabbage should wilt from the heat.
Taste and check if it needs more salt for your taste.
Toss through coriander. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best eaten on the day of making. See Note 7 regarding reheating/making ahead.
1. Coconut oil – Unrefined has an intense coconut flavour which reinforces the lovely coconut taste of this dish. Refined coconut oil is for general cooking and has had the coconut oil removed. If you cannot find unrefined coconut oil, vegetable oil is fine to use (but the dish won't have as strong a coconut flavour).2. Black mustard seeds – A key ingredient for authentic flavour. They look like poppyseeds, have a horseradish-like pungency with distinct aroma ~ $1.50 in small packs at Indian grocery stores (my local is Indian Emporium in Dee Why, Sydney). Also sold in the Indian food section at some Woolworths (Australia) $1.70, otherwise try online.Substitutes (starting with best):
Brown mustard seeds
Yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Garam Masala (different flavour, but is intended to make up for absence, add with turmeric)
See in post for other recipes using black mustard seeds.3. Eschalots (USA: shallots) – The small, elongated brown onion-like alliums which are more delicate and not as sharp as regular brown or yellow onions.4. Green chilli – Fresh whole cayenne pepper. This dish is not spicy, and this large chilli just provides a subtle background warmth.5. Curry leaves – A key ingredient in South Indian cooking which gives this dish a real authentic flavour! Sub 10 dried curry leaves. Curry leaves are fairly accessible nowadays for Sydney-siders, being sold at Harris Farms, most Coles and Woolworths. Freezes perfectly, see in post for other recipes using curry leaves.Substitute:
Dried curry leaves (not quite the same, but it's the best sub);
1 tsp Garam Masala powder (add it with rest of spices).
6. Desiccated coconut – The finely shredded version, unsweetened.7. Make ahead - this salad is best served slightly warm to bring out the flavours from the coconut "sambal". However, raw cabbage isn't great when reheated the next day - the smell is not very nice!So if you are expecting leftovers or intend to reheat, it is best to cook the cabbage instead of just wilting it, as per the recipe. Just add all the cabbage and carrot into the skillet and cook it until wilted. You could also do the same with leftovers ie just toss it in the skillet to cook the cabbage, then it will reheat fine the next day.8. Adapted from this Bean Thoran recipe.