Burmese Grated Carrot Salad

Burmese Carrot Salad copy

My first experience with carrot salad?  The grated version that’s loaded with raisins and walnuts and drowning in a super-sweet dressing.  It was perfect for my tween palate, which hadn’t begun to appreciate most vegetables, but these days I’m looking for more depth and balance than that overly sweet, kid-friendly dish.

In this Burmese carrot salad, a mound of grated carrots is dressed in fish sauce and lime juice and tossed with crunchy peanuts, golden crispy shallots, and minced Jalapeno.  A hefty amount of cilantro provides that ubiquitous Southeast Asian pop of freshness while toasted chickpea flour and shrimp powder adds plenty of savory umami.


Burmese Carrot Salad 1

For fans of Thai or Vietnamese green papaya salad, you might be surprised to hear that this carrot salad has a very similar texture and flavor.  That’s great news for any of you who love the taste of green papaya salad, but don’t have an extremely well-stocked Asian market where you live.  No green papaya?  No problem.

Plain ol’ supermarket carrots would work just fine for this recipe, but I couldn’t resist making this with some colorful heirloom carrots from the farmer’s market.  I wanted to keep this as a lighter side dish so I resisted adding extra protein, but like green papaya salad, I bet it would be great with some shrimp or even chicken.

Burmese Carrot Salad 2


Burmese Grated Carrot Salad

Yield: 6 servings


* 1 pound carrots, coarsely grated
* 3 Tablespoons lime juice
* 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
* 1 Tablespoon dried shrimp powder
* 1 Tablespoon toasted chickpea flour
* 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 chopped toasted peanuts
* 1/4 golden crispy shallots
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Combine the carrots, lime juice and fish sauce in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to gently pound or press the carrots to help break them down a bit, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the shrimp powder, toasted chickpea flour, Jalapeno pepper, salt, peanuts, shallots and cilantro and toss. Transfer the mixture to a shallow serving bowl and serve immediately.

Adapted from Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid

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9 Responses to “Burmese Grated Carrot Salad”

  1. #
    Eileen — April 1, 2013 at 8:15 am

    This salad sounds great, especially with the new carrots coming into the market. I remember that carrot and raisin salad–I hated it! This savory mix of peanuts and spice is much more to my taste. :)


    • Cate — April 1st, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

      Thanks Eileen! Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who isn’t a big fan of that carrot and raisin salad :)


  2. #
    Katie — April 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    This is beautiful! And sounds like it’s packed with flavor, too.


    • Cate — April 1st, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

      Thanks Katie!


  3. #
    Victoria — April 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Cate! What a wonderful recipe! Having grown up in a largely Burmese cultural household (the other part Chinese), I can certainly testify to the authenticity of this recipe! It sounds like you have it all the staple components of Burmese “salad dressing”–fish sauce, lime, bean powder, toasted shallots, cilantro, toasted peanuts, shrimp powder, and the chili! The only thing that is missing here from my mom’s classic combination is fried garlic (minced and fried in vegetable oil with a little bit of turmeric) and tamarind juice (which she uses in place of citrus often).

    Your fantastic photo is making me drool and nostalgic for my childhood–or just homesick, haha.


    • Cate — April 7th, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

      Thanks so much Victoria! And those extras that your mom used sound great as well… I’ll have to include them next time :)


  4. #
    Tiffany — April 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I made this wonderful salad last night and it was delicious. I opted to make mine a bit (okay allot) spicier. My asian market in AZ must have been out of jalapenos so I bought whatever pepper was sitting in the jalapeño basket. They were too little to de-seed, so the result was a savory sinuous clearing taste vacation to Burma.


    • Cate — April 11th, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

      So glad you liked It Tiffany- even with that extra chile pepper heat!


  5. #
    The Mistress of Spices — January 23, 2015 at 4:39 am

    Just discovered your blog…love love LOVE! How lovely to see someone with such a passion for travel and exploring the world through food. Cheers from Bangkok!


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