Sunday, March 02, 2008

Central Asian Carrot Salad

It's funny how a carrot dish could start with turnips, but sometimes things work out strangely.
Late winter is hardly the high season for farmers markets but when The Spouse and I found ourselves unexpectedly free on a recent sunny afternoon we decided to include the lone east side winter market in our walk. As expected, greens featured heavily along with some lovely baked goods and some downright weird sauerkraut crackers.
Off to the side of the main action was the Hayat Farm stand whose offerings consisted of one lone table heavily laden with nothing but turnips. Normally I'm not a turnip fan but I really wanted to support this particular farmer whose family is one of the Meskhetian Turk refugee families who have recently moved to Portland and whose teens have studied in my classroom.

If you've read my not-food blog you'll have come across stories of these kids, some of whom have been among my most memorable students. They've not had had easy lives and I'm happy to support their communiy by buying their produce, even if that happens to be turnips.

Hayat Farm hands out recipes for much of their produce, but we couldn't get any suggestions about how to use the turnips as Farmer Idrisov's English is pretty minimal and my Russian isn't much better. But I did end up using their recipe for a carrot salad that was just delicious.

I don't think a person can have too many carrot salad recipes. Carrots are super nutritious, always tasty, and they keep well so they're always on hand at my house. This dish is flavored with deeply browned onions and their oil along with a liberal amount of ground coriander which give the dish an exotic twist. The recipe can be found here, at the end of a great article about Mr Idrisov and his family.

As for those turnips? They became a lovely curry courtesy of Mahanandi and they were pretty darned good. For turnips.


Catherine said...

I really want to try this but the recipe link that says "here" in your post does not show me the recipe. (Unless I'm doing something in error which is more than possible!)

And what a lovely tribute to have a baby named after you. I must have missed that post last summer while on Orcas Island. Congratulations on that honor!

Magpie Ima said...

Thanks for the heads-up. The link is fixed now.