Collection: Kosumalli Salads

A Kosumalli is a simple spiced yet cooling salad. There are many varieties, but the most common is made by mixing soaked mung dal or channa dal with cucumber, carrot, and coconut, and tempering the salad with spices.  It is a South Indian specialty, eaten as a snack or made to accompany a meal. The crunch of the cucumber, the sweet flavour of coconut, and the tang of lemon balances the earthiness of the lentils for a deliciously flavoured and textured salad.

It is said that the dish originated in Karnataka where it is called Kosambari in Kannada. However the dish is now common across South India with many community cuisines (eg Upadi and Chettinand) have adopted it and adapted it to local tastes.

It is rather rare to have raw ingredients in South Indian cuisine. At the least, most ingredients are sautéed. There are a couple of exceptions including  Kosumalli which is closer to a Western version of a salad than Sundals and Pachadi  and Raita dishes which are often referred to as salads but differ from their Western counterparts. Although the modern preference is to use raw ingredients, in older recipes you will find that the dal is semi cooked, and the vegetables quickly sauteed.

Although made day to day in many households, Kosumalli is also made for festivals such as Navarathri and Ramanavami, and can feature at weddings.

There are many variations of Kosumalli that that differ with the vegetables being used. It can be as simple as cucumber with spices or with lentils and cucumbers. Cucumber can be replaced another vegetable, commonly carrots or sprouts. Or, as mentioned, it can be made with a combination of vegetables  (finely chopped cucumbers, plantain stem, sweetcorn, zucchini, green mango, onions, peppers, carrots, sprouts and/or tomatoes), coconut, spices and lentils.

Kosumalli makes an excellent light lunch with a bowl of yoghurt or steamed rice, or can be stirred into yoghurt to be eaten as a dip or in a similar way to raita. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or with dinner. It’s also a great tiffin dish and kid’s lunch dish.

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Milky Brinjal Chutney | Roasted Eggplant Chutney

Despite milk being abundant in India, I find it is rare to see it used in dishes that are not sweet. However I have probably seen more such recipes in the past month than I have noticed in the past decade. I wonder is that just my awareness, or is there a resurgence of popularity of these dishes.

Yoghurt is of course used extensively in savoury dishes, so why not use milk instead of yoghurt? You will find that milk gives a lighter touch and is without the sourness of yoghurt. While yoghurt is always evident in dishes, milk adds flavour without being assertive.

This is an Indian chutney from Andhra Pradesh. Eggplant is roasted and the flesh is mashed with milk that has been boiled and cooled, and then a tempering added that includes ginger and coriander leaves. It is delicious, and I recommend it with rice or part of an Indian meal.

South Indian chutneys are quite different to Western chutneys, and they also make great dips, spreads for sandwiches and wraps, and purees to accompany a meal or form a base for other ingredients.

Similar dishes include Fresh Radish Chutney, Mint and Coriander Chutney, and Green Tomato Pachadi.

Browse all of our Indian Chutneys and our Eggplant dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Hesarubele Koshambari | South Indian Mung Dal and Cucumber Salad

Koshambari (also known as Kosumali) is a lovely crunchy and refreshing salad from Karnataka in the south of India which is made in a variety of ways. While it almost always contains cucumber and mung dal or channa dal, it can also be made with carrots, sprouted lentils or green mangoes.

It is a traditional salad and it is typically served as a part of the meal during festivals, weddings and gatherings. It is also often made at home for daily meals.

The ratio of cucumber to lentils can vary with the region, the household, and the season. Some will make it and emphasise the cucumbers. Others will make it with a predominance of lentils. Other places will balance the two.

For such a simple salad, there are endless ways of making it, so much so that you could eat it at every house in a street, and every salad will taste slightly different. I tend to increase the cucumber component here in Summer where the temperatures can get up to 45C – 46C at times, and increase the lentils in the Autumn and into Winter.

Serve this Kosambari with hot Masala Chai during your tea time break or with your lunch or dinner. Generally it is served as just a couple of Tblspn or so on each plate along with the other dishes.

Similar recipes include a Collection of Kosumalli SaladsCucumber and Mung Salad, Meenakshi Ammal’s Kosumalli, and Indian Cucumber Salad.

Browse all of our Koshambari Salads, and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tamarind Summer Cooler

Another great Summer Cooler is made with tamarind – that sweet-sour and ubiquitous Indian souring agent. If you can find fresh tamarind, go the whole way and make your own tamarind paste – it is worth the effort.

The tamarind paste is mixed with sugar syrup and tasted to get the perfect balance of sweet and sour. In the photo, we have also used dried barberries that have soaked in the sugar syrup. Not only do they look festive, they also have a delightful sweet-sour flavour that compliments the drink very well.

It is interesting how tamarind coolers feature around the world, from the Nam Makham of Thailand to the Agua Fresca de Tamarindo from Mexico.

Similar recipes include Ginger Cooler, Pandan Cooler, and Jal Jeera.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Browse all of our Coolers and Indian Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Easy Summery Weekend Breakfast and Brunch Dishes

Think outside the box for Breakfast, especially in Summer.

Prepare your breakfast dishes, make a large pot of coffee, set the table on the verandah, deck, or under the grapevines, take the newspaper or a book, and enjoy a leisurely Summer breakfast.

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Cucumber and Pineapple Kachumber

There is nothing better than balmy weather, and pineapples are in the markets! So we bring a slightly tropical feel to the table today with a special salad of cucumbers and pineapple.

Similar recipes include Apple and Yoghurt Salad with Grapes, Kachumber, and Chickpeas and Ginger Kachumber.

Browse all of our Kachumbers, and our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Cucumber Raita

Amongst non-Indians, Cucumber Raita must be the most well known accompaniment to Indian meals. It is not a surprise, really. It is a tasty and cooling dish that easily cuts through the heat of Indian food. Because of it’s popularity, the wealth of different Raita and Pachadis (Sth India’s version of the raita) sadly do not feature in restaurants.

In Summer, in this 42C heat of recent days, even we reach for this cucumber cooling goodness. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar recipes include Cucumber Pachadi with Coconut, Spinach Pachadi, and Carrot Sambol.

Browse all of our Pachadi and Raita. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of recipes.

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Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime Juice

Two of the special yams in India are Elephant Yam, and Elephant Foot Yam. Sadly, these two often get confused, even by Indian bloggers and writers. It took me quite a while and lots of conversations to sort the two out.

This Masiyal can be made with either of the two yams. I am using frozen yam as fresh ones are not available here. Its a surprising dish, incredibly delicious.

If you have any more information about these yams, please share.

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of her books Cook and See. The dish is made with toor dal (red gram dal) but uses lime juice instead of tamarind. Lemon juice works too, due to the same word being used for both fruits in India it is often difficult to tell which is intended. Both work well in most dishes. I like lime because it gives a tropical spark to dishes.

Similar recipes include Ridged Gourd MasiyalPoritha Kootu, and South Indian Yellow Pumpkin Soup.

Browse all of our Elephant Yam and Elephant Foot Yam recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad

Lemons, the ubiquitous and essential ingredient in kitchens the world over. We squeeze the juice into this and that, preserve them, grate their rind, and candy them. I have dehydrated lemon slices – not pretty but oh goodness, the flavour they added to dishes! Rarely do we think of roasting them.

But that must change. Something magical happens to citrus when it hangs out in a hot oven. It takes on a sweeter, slightly-burnt complexity. They add flavour to any dish, but are also good on their own!

This recipe is from Plenty More from Ottolenghi, and is part of our project to cook through this book. You might like to see our thoughts on the different chapters of this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

Seek out the sweetest tomatoes you can get for this dish, to balance the tartness of the lemon: baby or cherry yellow and red tomatoes are your best bet.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and Tomato and Pomegranate Salad.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Palak Bhajiya | Spinach Fritters

Spinach and other greens are some of the easiest things to grow in the garden, so we always have them in abundance. One easy way (and delicious way) to use them is to make this great Indian snack, generally eaten during the Monsoon season. Spinach leaves are coated in a chickpea flour batter and deep fried. So put on your rainy weather gear, pick the palak, and make this bhajiya with lots of friends and lots of laughter. In the UK Bhajiya is called Bhajji (confusingly), and this practice is spreading. We could just call them Pakoda and be done with it.

Similar recipes include Pakora – Vegetable Fritters, and Onion Rings.

Please, browse all of our Pakora/ Bhajji, and all of our Snacks. Our Indian dishes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter dishes.

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