Orange blossom carrot salad

I wrote this recipe as part of a recent Borough Market piece, and thought it worth sharing on these pages too.

In my mind I lump orange blossom water and rosewater together in the category of ‘things that taste like your dead grandmother’s heavily perfumed underwear drawer’.

Which is unfair. Because rosewater actually tastes much worse than an underwear drawer; and orange blossom water has only the slightest hint of potpourri.

In fact, orange blossom water is probably more medicinal or soapy than room scent (I’m really selling it to you, aren’t I?), but when mixed with sweet and strongly flavoured things, it mellows and can add a really super depth and floral quality to what you’re eating.

One example of it used well is in a Moroccan style carrot salad – julienned carrots dressed with cumin seeds and various sweet spices, raisins, herbs, and then the orange blossom water, which seems to subtly lift the mix.

I could eat this by the bucket load. Do give it a go, though make sure you allow it to sit for an hour before serving so the flavours mingle.

Orange blossom carrot salad

Serves 4-6 as a side 

  • 600g carrots
  • 30g golden raisins or sultanas
  • The leaves from 5-6 stems of mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin rapeseed oil or argan oil
  • 2 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • Good pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

Peel the carrots and then use a julienne peeler or food processor to turn them into strips. If you have neither, a large box (cheese) grater is fine. Put the julienned/grated carrots into a mixing bowl.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until you can smell their aroma – 1-2 minutes, probably.

Make the dressing by whisking the oil, orange blossom water, honey, lemon, salt and spices together until homogenised. Pour this over the carrots, add the raisins and three quarters of the mint and toss well. Sprinkle the remainder of the mint over the top.

It’s best if you can let the carrot salad sit to ‘steep’ for about an hour so the dressing can work its magic.