Shredded Carrot Salad

(Gajjar Ka Salaad)

4 servings

The Nala Paka team made a shredded carrot salad and tamarind rice for the feast; these versions of the festival dishes have been selected for the home cook. This salad traditionally is served as a side dish. Adapted from "The Everything Indian Cookbook," by Monica Bhide (Adams Media Corp., 2004).

2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded

2 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts, chopped

1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds


Shredded unsweetened coconut, for garnish (optional)

Cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, peanuts, chili pepper and lemon juice. Mix well. Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, after about 1 minute, remove from heat and pour over the carrots. Add salt to taste and mix well. Garnish with coconut and cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 91 calories, 2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 111 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; e-mail questions to

Tamarind Rice (Pulihora)

4 to 5 servings

The spiciness of this south Indian classic can be adjusted by mixing in more cooked rice and the tamarind chutney to taste. Curry leaves contribute a pungent lemon flavor, but if they're not available, it's better to omit them than substitute. (Curry powder is not a substitute.)

Also adapted from "The Everything Indian Cookbook."

2 cups uncooked basmati rice

4 cups of water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 fresh sprigs curry leaves* (optional)

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 dried red chili peppers, broken into pieces

1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts

1/2 to 1 cup tamarind chutney

Rinse the rice with water at least 3 or 4 times, and drain. Set aside.

In a deep pan over high heat, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the drained rice and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the salt and lemon juice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan loosely and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated and small craters form on the rice. Cover the pan tightly, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let the rice sit for 5 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and transfer half to a serving platter. Set aside.

In a medium skillet on medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the curry leaves, if using, and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to sputter (be careful; they tend to pop out of the skillet), add the red chili pepper pieces and peanuts. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup chutney, or more to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is heated.

Spoon the chutney mixture over the rice on the platter. Just before serving, toss the mixture to combine well. Taste for spiciness and add more rice or chutney as desired.

*NOTE: Curry leaves are available at Asian specialty markets.

Per serving (based on 5): 269 calories, 5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 564 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; e-mail questions to