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The Rainbow Room's Carrot and Peanut Salad

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER
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Introduction

This is not the place for in-depth social history, unless you take the view — as I do — that all food is social history, but I do need to provide a bit of provenance. Once upon a time there was Biba, an ill-lit but fabulous boutique, shoplifters' paradise, at the top of Kensington High Street. It moved, triumphantly, down the road to the old Derry and Tom's building, four or five huge floors of it, and on the fourth, or fifth, I can't remember, was its restaurant, the Rainbow Room, where my mother took me for treats when I was a child, while she kitted herself out in suede boots, maxi-coats and mini-dresses. This salad, or some approximation of it, was on its menu and my mother loved it and made her own version at home regularly. I do, too. Its ingredients list may sound odd, but this is a combination that not only works but becomes addictive. Don't be alarmed at the amount of vinegar: the astringency of the dressing, against the fulsome oiliness of the nuts and, in turn, nutty sweetness of the carrots, is the whole point.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This is not the place for in-depth social history, unless you take the view — as I do — that all food is social history, but I do need to provide a bit of provenance. Once upon a time there was Biba, an ill-lit but fabulous boutique, shoplifters' paradise, at the top of Kensington High Street. It moved, triumphantly, down the road to the old Derry and Tom's building, four or five huge floors of it, and on the fourth, or fifth, I can't remember, was its restaurant, the Rainbow Room, where my mother took me for treats when I was a child, while she kitted herself out in suede boots, maxi-coats and mini-dresses. This salad, or some approximation of it, was on its menu and my mother loved it and made her own version at home regularly. I do, too. Its ingredients list may sound odd, but this is a combination that not only works but becomes addictive. Don't be alarmed at the amount of vinegar: the astringency of the dressing, against the fulsome oiliness of the nuts and, in turn, nutty sweetness of the carrots, is the whole point.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

The Rainbow Room's Carrot and Peanut Salad
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 1-2

Metric Cups
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled)
  • 75 grams salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 6 drops sesame oil
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled)
  • ¾ cup salted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 drops asian sesame oil

Method

  1. Grate the carrots very coarsely, push them through the french-fry cutter in the processor, or just cut them into skinny batons.
  2. In a bowl, combine them with the peanuts and then add the remaining ingredients.
  3. I like to eat this, straight out of the Pyrex pudding basin I mix it in, held up high, under my chin, for ease of eating-action. In fact, the only way I stop eating it is by having someone prise the bowl out of my hands.
  1. Grate the carrots very coarsely, push them through the french-fry cutter in the processor, or just cut them into skinny batons.
  2. In a bowl, combine them with the peanuts and then add the remaining ingredients.
  3. I like to eat this, straight out of the Pyrex pudding basin I mix it in, held up high, under my chin, for ease of eating-action. In fact, the only way I stop eating it is by having someone prise the bowl out of my hands.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead or store.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead or store.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • A generous addition of Italian parsley, fresh coriander (cilantro), and/or mint is really delicious against the carrots and peanuts. I've made a similar salad swapping the peanuts out in favor of chopped roasted and salted pistachios, and olive oil with fresh lemon juice and zest in the dressing. For that one, I always do a double hit of coriander - in the forms of both the leafy herb and the fragrant ground seed.

    Posted by Eric_Rodgers on 2nd February 2015
  • And adding a bit of grated fresh ginger is good too !

    Posted by cmsd on 7th July 2014
  • I have a similar recipe but mine also contains about a cup of grated chedder cheese, celery cut small for texture and a fresh taste, and a good handful of chopped parsley. I also add a couple of crushed carlic cloves to the oil and vinegar dressing - so if you can leave it alone long enough the peanuts soaks up the yummy garlic oil. It is especially nice at BBQ's and goes well with the smokey crispy meat and fish off the fire. It always goes down a treat and I am often asked for the recipe. I like it along side a nice creamy potato salad also. mmm mm

    Posted by rockbates on 16th July 2011
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