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Spicy Carrot Salad with Pilpelchuma

April 8, 2015

By Kath Dedon


Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s recipe for Spicy Carrot Salad in Jerusalem turned out to be a great side dish with our Easter ham. It’s actually best made ahead of time and served at room temperature so it is perfect for entertaining.

A chile and garlic blend called Pilpelchuma, popular in Tripoli, is what makes it spicy. It’s pretty potent, but only one tablespoon is used in the salad. It makes it very flavorful without being too hot. It’s suggested that Harissa can be substituted but you may need to adjust how much you add, which will depend on the heat of your Harissa.

A carrot salad is often a part of an appetizer spread (meze) served in restaurants in Jerusalem. Ottolenghi and Tamimi take the typical salad of carrots, oil, garlic, and lemon juice or vinegar to the next level with their spicy version. I highly recommend this Spicy Carrot Salad!


Spicy Carrot Salad 2


Spicy Carrot Salad

(This is adapted from an Ottolenghi/Tamimi recipe in Jerusalem. They credited Pascale Perez-Rubin for her recipe that inspired them.)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 very generously, 6 – 8 as part of a meal with many other dishes


6 large carrots (1½ pounds/700g), peeled

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups/300g)

1 tablespoon Pilpelchuma (recipe below) or Harissa

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon caraway seeds, freshly ground

½ teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoon cider vinegar

1½ cups (30g) arugula leaves

¾ teaspoon sea salt


1. Place the peeled carrots in a large pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and then cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.

2. While the carrots are cooking, put half of the oil in a skillet and cook the onions over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 – 15 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the onions, the other half of the oil, the Pilpelchuma, cumin, caraway, sugar, cider vinegar, and salt.


Cooked onions added to the mixing bowl

golden brown onionsa

4. When the carrots have cooled, cut them into ¼-inch slices and stir them into the salad. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. (It can be made the day before. If so, cover and refrigerate but allow it to come to room temperature before serving.)

5. Just before serving, add the arugula or simply serve it on a bed of arugula. (If there is salad leftover, the arugula will wilt. I removed the arugula from our leftover salad.)


Spicy Carrot Salad



(Leftover Pilpelchuma will keep for about a month in the refrigerator. The authors suggest pouring a thin film of oil over the surface to keep it from drying out. Use it as you would Harissa. Suggestions include smearing on root vegetables before roasting, mixing with oil and herbs to use as a meat rub, or mixing in scrambled eggs.)


Makes about 1 cup


 I found dried ancho chiles in the section featuring Mexican ingredients.dried ancho chili

12 g chili



You’ll need a small glass container that will hold about 1 cup

1 large ancho or pasilla chile or other dried chile with some heat (12g)

4½ tablespoons (25g) cayenne pepper

3½ tablespoons (25g) sweet paprika

2½ teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons caraway seeds, ground (I used a coffee grinder)

16 – 20 cloves garlic, peeled (2¾oz/75g)

¾ teaspoon sea salt

5 tablespoons (75 ml) sunflower oil


Caraway seeds ready to be ground in a clean coffee grinder

ground caraway seeds

One head of garlic had 16 cloves of garlic, weighing 76g

76g garlic - 16 cloves



1. Use Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s method to sterilize your container. Fill the container with boiling water. Leave it for a minute or so, and then empty and let it air dry.

2. Put the dried chile in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let it sit for 30 minutes.


soaking the chilia

3. Put the ground spices in a skillet. Stir them over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes.


Cayenne pepper, ground caraway seeds, ground cumin, and paprika



4. Put the spices in a small food processor and add the garlic and salt.

5. Remove the chile from the bowl of water. Seed it and cut into pieces and add it to the food processor.

6. Process the ingredients a bit, and then add the sunflower oil and process until it is a well-blended paste.

7. Put the Pilpelchuma in the sterilized container. Put a thin film of oil over it and then put the lid on and refrigerate.


1 cup of Pilpelchuma



Spicy Carrot Salad tall


One Comment leave one →


  1. Aj Aiuqros

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