The original recipe was one of my dad's signature dish. Like Thanksgiving turkey leftovers popping up in a kitchen near you during the first week of December, this bright cheerful salad was made at home with clockwork precision annually during the third week of January. Reason: 15th of January marks the harvest festival of Pongal & Makar sankaranthi, commemorating the winter soltice, Makar = goat = the zodiac sign of capricorn) and homes are stocked with freshly harvested ginger and turmeric to ring in prosperity. Kind of like decorating with ears of corn during fall, I guess..
The key ingredient here is the tender ginger root that flavors the entire salad without the overpowering spiciness that characterizes the more mature root that is used in everyday cooking. If you can get your hands on some fresh turmeric root and mango ginger, which is actually a relative of turmeric with the aroma of raw mango (which is pretty much available year round in Indian grocery stores), go for it, else forget the turmeric family, the powdered spice has no place here!) —Panfusine
1.5 - 2 cup
The root salad
grated tender ginger root
carrot, peeled & grated
golden beet, peeled & grated
grated fresh turmeric root and mango ginger (if available, else omit)
Combine the grated Carrots, golden beets & ginger in a bowl with the julienned jalapeno (feel free to up the jalapeno if you have the tolerance). Add the salt & lime juice & toss lightly.
In a skillet, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds sputter, remove from fire and add the asafetida, stir well & drizzle over the salad. Mix and allow to rest for 1/2 hr to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold.