Carrot sambharo is a Gujarati carrot salad. A sambharo is a type of lightly stir-fried salad. This sambharo sticks to the traditional flavors of a sambharo, with a vaghar of mustard seed and curry leaf. It is a great addition to any thali and works well as a side dish, even with foods outside of Indian cuisine.
This is a great recipe to put together because:
- It takes only a handful of ingredients.
- It is a great way to enjoy the fresh flavors of carrots with a minimally dressed, warm salad.
- It works well as a side to Indian meals and non-Indian meals alike. It accompanies just about anything.
About this Recipe
This is a very traditional recipe I learned from one of my mother’s friends when I was a kid. She would come to our house often and bring little treats and things she had made over. We also occasionally went to her house for a meal. This was one of her go-to dishes.
Sambharo is similar to kachumber. They are both salads, but kachumber is not cooked at all, while sambharo is lightly cooked, enough to warm the ingredients and help the flavors integrate, but the vegetables should retain their crunch.
Carrot – Did you know carrots have been cultivated in India far longer than in the West? They are likely from Persia and have been a part of Indian cuisine since the 10th century. They only began to appear in European cuisine around the 17th century.
As a salad, you can think of sambharo as easy and flexible, made from readily available ingredients. If you don’t have everything, you can simply leave out the curry leaves, mustard seeds, or sesame seeds. You can swap in cumin if you have it, although mustard seeds are traditional, and the pairing of mustard seeds and carrots is characteristic.
You can swap lemon juice for red wine vinegar if that’s what you have. Vinegar is definitely not traditional in Indian cuisine, but it won’t hurt the dish.
- Take care not to overcook the carrots. They should remain crunchy.
- Some families cut the carrots into sticks instead of grating them. This way, the chili can be cut to an equal size as the carrot. This is a lot of work, so I grate it.
- For additional flavor, you can add dhana jeeru or garam masala.
- To make it a more western-style salad, you can add cilantro and avocado.
Sambharo adds a crunchy vegetable element to a meal. It is part of a traditional Gujarati thali, which includes a couple of shaaks like dudhi chana nu shaak and bhinda nu shaak, a dal such as this Gujarati dal, some rice, such as jeera rice, roti and pickle, such as chundo.
Sambharo keeps in the refrigerator well for about 3-4 days. It’s a great dish to make in advance if you are preparing a large meal. Make it the day before and serve cold or warm it up slightly. Do not freeze.
- ½ pound carrots peeled and grated
- 1-2 green chilies sliced
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 10 curry leaves optional
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. Let sizzle and pop for a few seconds. Add curry leaves. Stir.
- Add carrots and salt. Cook for 2 minutes under medium heat, to slightly warm the carrots, not cook them.
- Add lemon juice. Mix well and serve at room temperature.