If there's one thing that's endlessly fascinating about Indian and Southeast Asian cooking, it's those fragrant waters such as rose, orange blossom, and the much less well-known (in North American, that is) Kewra or Kevda water. Kewra water is a distilled extract from pandanus flowers, and it's commonly used to flavor sweets such a barfi (something like an Indian fudge) and rassomalai, as well as to add fragrance to meats, drinks, and rice dishes such as biryanis. You can use it as a substitute for rose water, but in this case, it was put to work in place of orange blossom water.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
It's a strange occurrence when you realize you're out of orange blossom water, but have the even more obscure kewra languishing, unopened, in the cupboard. It's the result of impulse buys at Indian markets, and luckily, worked very well in this salad. Like orange blossom water, you don't exactly taste kewra. Rather, you sense it at the back of the throat as you breathe in, a subtle hint of fragrance, there and then gone.
Grated Carrot Salad
From Paula Wolfert's Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco
7 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Orange flower water (or, in this case, kewra water), for sprinkling
Pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients together and let marinate for 1 hour before serving.