Chefs' Recipes

Charlie Carrington's grilled asparagus, peas and amba-spiced labne

A spring-ready salad with a gentle hum of spice.

By Charlie Carrington
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus draining
  • Serves 6
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"I also like to arrange this salad into the shape of a tart," says Melbourne chef Charlie Carrington. "Pipe the amba in a round onto the plate. Cut some of the asparagus into 2cm-long sticks and arrange in a circle over the amba, with the pea mixture and curled asparagus inside.


  • 300 gm Greek-style yoghurt
  • ½ head of garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 300 gm podded peas (about 750gm unpodded)
  • 2 red birdseye chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 500 gm asparagus, trimmed
  • 170 gm white or green asparagus, peeled, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin and placed in iced water (5 minutes), drained
  • A handful of pea tendrils (optional), to serve
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 25 gm dried mango (see note)


  • 1
    For labne, place yoghurt in a sieve lined with muslin set over a bowl, cover and refrigerate to drain (overnight; discard liquid). You should have 120gm.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 200°C. Place garlic on a sheet of aluminium foil, season with salt and drizzle with vegetable oil. Wrap tightly and roast until soft (25-30 minutes) then squeeze garlic from skins.
  • 3
    For amba, dry-roast spices over medium-high heat until fragrant (20-30 seconds). Add mango, remove from heat and stir until cool, then grind in a spice grinder until very fine (see note).
  • 4
    Blanch peas until bright green (10 seconds). Drain, and toss with chilli, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • 5
    Preheat a barbecue or char-grill pan to high. Brush asparagus with remaining olive oil and grill, turning, until charred (3-4 minutes). Chop.
  • 6
    Blend labne, ½ tsp amba spice mix, garlic and remaining lemon juice in a small food processor until smooth.
  • 7
    Spoon labne onto plates and top with charred asparagus, pea mixture, pea tendrils and thinly sliced asparagus.


Dried mango is available from select supermarkets and grocers. Amba will keep in an airtight container for a month.
Drink suggestion: An Australian chardonnay with great acidity – 2016 Sorrenberg Chardonnay. Drink suggestion by Charlie Carrington & Anna Riou-lebret.