Kosambari

It is a festive season here, we celebrate a plethora of festivals continuously between August & November every year, and every festival is celebrated distinctively in different parts of India. It is quite astonishing to find how the cuisine, culture, and customs vary from one region to other even within South India. Kosambari is a traditional lentil salad popular in South Indian states (particularly in Andhra, Karnataka and some parts of Tamilnadu) offered to deities in this festive season and also served to guests at the wedding parties & other functions.

But sundal, another kind of traditional lentil salad, is preferred over kosambari during most of the festivals in our family. Nevertheless we had plenty of opportunities to relish kosambari during my childhood days at my friend’s house. My friend’s grandmother was a kind but a stern woman performing all religious rituals in a finicky manner, she was so particular to offer kosambari to deities on every auspicious day in this season including Navarathri, and distributed it to all the kids in our neighborhood in thonnai (the eco-friendly use & throw bowls made of large leaves).

Kosambari became one of the most favorite salads not only to me but also to my brothers, albeit not favoured by the elders in our family. Kosambari is usually prepared using soaked lentils, but my grandparents preferred the sundal made using cooked lentils. It was liked by us mainly due to the delicious texture obtained by adding equal measures of grated coconut & lentils. Besides, the flavor of this salad is enhanced by adding grated carrot & unripe mango and finely chopped cucumber & capsicum.

Since kosambari is a healthy salad with little or no carbs & fats and also a hearty salad that can be taken either as a meal or as a mid-morning/ evening snack, it is beneficial to people who are on weight loss diet. So some like to add soaked chickpeas (kadalai paruppu) or sprouted beans (mulaikattiya payaru) instead of moong dal, and also add juicy pomegranate arils, sweet beetroot, pungent radish, papery lettuce, crunchy baby corn, steamed red cabbage, etc. that aid in weight loss. Nonetheless I don’t prefer to add these ingredients in here as I feel they would alter the authentic flavor in it.

Now I have posted the recipe for traditional kosambari, though the recipe is too simple, we need to add all the necessary ingredients at appropriate proportions to make this dish delicious. Hence I recommend not to omit any of the ingredients listed below, even the nicely crackled mustard seeds also enhance the flavor.

Ingredients:

Since I prefer to add the ingredients according to the desired texture and flavor, I don’t mention here the quantity of all the ingredients.

  1. Split green gram (paasi paruppu) – soaked for 2 hours and drained completely
  2. Grated coconut
  3. Finely minced ginger
  4. Finely chopped green chillies
  5. Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  6. Lemon juice
  7. Salt

For tempering:

  1. A teaspoon of coconut oil/ sesame oil
  2. A teaspoon of mustard seeds
  3. A few sprigs of curry leaves
  4. A generous pinch of asafoetida powder

Optional ingredients:

  • Grated carrot (almost equal amounts of lentils)
  • Grated unripe mango (as needed)
  • Finely chopped cucumber (equal amounts of lentils)
  • A small amount of finely chopped capsicum (green, red, and/or yellow)

Kosambari salad:

First we need to prepare the tempering, mix all the ingredients together and serve kosambari immediately. We can enjoy the delicious Kosambari even without adding the optional ingredients mentioned above. I like to add coconut and the vegetables (except capsicum) generously, and I found that too many/little mustard seeds would also affect the flavour.

Tips & Tweaks:

  • It is very important that the lentils to be soaked for 2 hours, else we could notice the raw smell of lentils.
  • Some may like to add chopped onion & tomato into this salad, but I feel they don’t go well with coconut.
  • I don’t prefer to add cooked ingredients like sweetcorn, cabbage, peas, peanuts, etc. into this salad as it would turn out to be a mixture of sundal & kosambari.
  • We can simply make this salad with one or two vegetables and serve as carrot kosambari, cucumber kosambari or carrot-cucumber kosambari.
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77 Comments Add yours

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you.

  1. If one should happen to have the mood and leisure for trying out something exotic – and beautiful! – then surely the recipes here on your blog would be on the top of the list, dear Megala!
    I say “exotic” because I am a Belarussian living in Denmark, and neither of those cuisines are at all close to those delicious dishes you are displaying here!
    Dare one try one, I wonder? Or will I be instantly addicted? πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ Well, surely a little try-out won’t harm… πŸ˜€

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment, it fills my heart with joy & gratitude. πŸ™‚
      I would love to hear from you if you ever happen to try your hand at any of these recipes. πŸ™‚

  2. da-AL says:

    Why must you torture us this way? Not just tasty photos β€” but closeups even! With such vivid descriptions!! & then you hold a spoon of it out to us as if we could bite our screens…

    1. Megala says:

      Hahaha! πŸ™‚ Thanks much for reading this post.

  3. Lady Oscar says:

    All my favorite veggies! I made it! It was super delicious.
    And, I love your story. it reminds me the nice childhood… homesick~

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  4. ciccolady says:

    I never heard about this meal beforeπŸ™‚πŸ€—looks super tasty!!!

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you. πŸ™‚

  5. macalder02 says:

    Indian cuisine plays an important role in its culture and customs. Holidays are the best occasion to exhibit those meals. In the West, its consumption has been extended due to the variety of exotic ingredients that are used to give the palate a sensation of different flavors. Let’s try to do the kosambari and not die trying. I will do it as you say to be more authentic. Thanks for the recipe and for knowing more about the city. I liked reading you.

    1. Megala says:

      I’m glad you liked this recipe. Thanks much for reading this post and sharing your thoughts.

  6. rabirius says:

    That sounds – and looks – really good.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you so much.

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