SEEMA Cooks: Carrot-Cucumber Kosumbari Salad

kosumbari
Image credits: healthy-indian.com

If you are from South India or have visited the southern states, then you may be familiar with Kosumbari. This South Indian side salad is served at traditional weddings or religious events. We call it kosumbari in the state of Karnataka, where I hail from. People from Tamil Nadu, our neighboring state, call it kosumalli.

I have fond recollections of sitting cross-legged on the floor at various puje (prayer) and maduve (marriage) ceremonies (in the later years, we graduated to tables and chairs), waiting in anticipation for the baale yelae (banana leaf) to be laid out in front of me. The number of food items is mind-boggling, but if you are mindful of the carbs and desserts, the meal is very well balanced.

First, the leaf is laid out, and you get a few minutes to deftly rinse and wipe the leaf. Next, the servers come along in a steady line and fill the banana leaf with food items. Kosumbari is one of the first to be served. Usually, a couple of different varieties of kosumbari are served, along with pickle, salt, dry vegetable curries and a tiny bit of payasam (milk-based dessert). Finally, rice, hot ghee and some plain dal heralds the end of the first serving. Last but not the least, the cries of “Govinda, Govinda” meant that we could dig in.

While most of my friends didn’t touch their raw kosumbari, I’d dive right into them. For some reason, rice did not hold any fascination for me. After all, I ate it every day. But the delicate salads were what I craved. The mix of spicy, crunchy, tangy and juicy just sent my taste buds into overdrive. Now, I am thrilled to be able to bring this recipe to you!

(Almost) Zero Prep

I love this kosumbari because it needs minimal prep work. Furthermore, it is one of those real easy recipes you can turn out with basic kitchen staples. You don’t have to worry about any cooking, with the exception of the quick tempering of spices. The only ahead-of-time planning you will need is the soaking of split mung (hesaru bele) for about 30-45 minutes. It is super easy to grate carrots and cucumbers if you have a small food processor.

If you want to serve a typical South Indian meal, then you can serve kosumbari with Bisi Bele BaathCrunchy Baked Plantain ChipsMooli RaitaPepper RasamCabbage & Green Beans PoriyalCabbage WadaTart Spicy Pickled Cauliflower, and Curd (Yogurt) Rice. How about dessert? Pick from Sweet Pongal (Huggi)Gasagase (Poppy Seed) PayasaAkki-Haalu (Rice Kheer) Payasa or Hesaru Bele (Split Mung) Payasa.

The recipe

This South Indian kosumbari is a mouth-watering salad that is traditionally served at weddings and special occasions. Easy to make, this can now become part of your healthy lifestyle. It is gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free has no added sugar, is raw, vegan and vegetarian.

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 5 mins

Time for dal to soak: 30 mins

Total time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

Calories: 115 kcal

INGREDIENTS

Kosumbari ingredients
Kosumbari ingredients. Pic courtesy healthy-indian.com
  • 1/2 cup split mung – hesarubele
  • 1 cup carrots, grated
  • 1 cup cucumber, grated
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt – to taste
  • 2 tsp lime juice
Tempering ingredients
Tempering ingredients. Pic courtesy healthy-indian.com

Tempering

  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil, cold-pressed
  • 1/8 tsp asafetida (hing)
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp green chili pepper, finely chopped and added according to taste
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
Soaked, split and dehusked mung beans.
Soaked, split and dehusked mung beans. Pic courtesy healthy-indian.com

METHOD

  1. Wash and soak split dehusked mung beans in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the water and set aside.
  3. Grate cucumber and carrots. There is no need to peel the vegetables if they are organic. Add to the soaked and drained mung.
Tempering asafetida, mustard seeds, chillies and curry leaves in coconut oil
Tempering asafetida, mustard seeds, chillies and curry leaves in coconut oil. Pic courtesy healthy-indian.com

Tempering

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add coconut oil. Splutter mustard seeds. Add asafetida (hing), chopped green chillis and curry leaves and sauté for 20-30 seconds.
  2. Add tempering to the mung-vegetable mix. Add salt, lime juice and finely chopped cilantro. Mix well and serve cold.

Note:  Use organic ingredients wherever possible.

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