Kachumber, or cachumber, is the Indian version of a chopped tomato and cucumber salad. It usually consists of freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with a pepper and lemon or lime dressing. It often includes fresh chilli peppers, or chilli powder can be added to the dressing. The dressing is unique to this salad, as it does not contain any oil and gives a peppery tang to the 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.
Soy dressings are not something that I grew up with, my family being unadventurous food-wise, and county folk to boot. Integrating different ingredients into the daily routine was something that happened rarely, although I do remember my Mother being obsessed with Peppermint Essence. All our desserts tasted like toothpaste for months.
But soy dressings DO feature in our household, having inherited a foodie adventurous gene from somewhere in my line of ancestors. This salad, definitely Chinese, dresses finely chopped cucumber in soy, sesame, and rice vinegar. Use a white vinegar if you don’t have rice vinegar.
Quick pickles are very fashionable now, and why not! They are both tasty and healthy. This is a Chinese recipe that produces a lovely, sweet-sour quick pickle of cucumber. Leave it to soak and pickle in the vinegar mix while you make the rest of the meal, and it will be ready to serve when you are calling the family to the table.
Ah, the wealth of noodles from all parts of Asia – Korea, Japan, China, South East Asia and India. An infinite number. Our local Asian grocery alone must stock over 100 different noodles. While traditional uses make fabulous dishes, using them in other ways is also delicious. For example, build salads around them.
Today’s salad is takes soba noodles as its basis and adds cooling cucumber, Japanese seaweed, miso and toasted sesame seeds. It’s a beauty!
You might also like to try Chinese Pickled Cucumbers.
Who does not like Summer Rolls, the South East Asian dish of crunchy ingredients wrapped in rice wrappers and served with a peanut sauce? They are so summery, refreshing and cooling.
This recipe deconstructs the Summer Rolls and turns it into a Salad. It is from Bittman’s 100 Salads. We are working our way through these and doing so has changed the way we eat quite significantly. Salads are definitely a part of our day now.
This is a simple Jicama Salad, easy and quick to make, which matches its crispy apple taste with the Summery freshness of cucumber. A little heat from chilli and a tang from lime juice, and a gorgeous salad is born.
Jicama, or Yam Bean, is a funny little vegetable, with papery brown skin that can be pulled off in layers. There is nothing there to suggest the beautiful white flesh below which is so crisp, juicy and a little sweet, with a taste hinting at apples. It is versatile, perfect in salads, making wonderful pickles, and can be cooked as well.
Salsas are supposed to be sauce-like, even though they might be chunky. Ingredients are chopped small, there might be some liquid involved, and a salsa is generally eaten poured or spooned over another dish. However, in parts of the world away from Mexico and the US, the term salsa is liberally used for salads that consist of some finely chopped fruit or raw vegetables with, commonly, onion, garlic, lime juice, chilli and coriander. Gradually even those composition rules are being relaxed.
So this salad can be called a salsa, having spring onion, coriander, lime and garlic, but perhaps it is a little too chunky. And it has olive oil with the lime juice. So, to be on the safe side, we have kept the salad label. You can call it whatever you wish, and chop it more finely if you prefer.
The recipe combines crispy apple with fresh cucumber. It is crisp and cooling. You can remove the seeds from the cucumber, should you wish to, but I can never see the sense in doing this. There is a cooling sweetness to the seed area which I enjoy in Summer.
This is an Ottolenghi dish and in fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi 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. This dish is from his Guardian column. 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.
Browse all of our Salsas and our many Salads. Our Apple Salads are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
Brunch, that late breakfast or early lunch, really a replacement for both, gorgeous on long lazy Autumn weekends. It’s blend of 2 meals means that it has elements of both. Whether you are doing more lunchy elements for your brunch, or more breakfasty elements, a salad always goes down a treat. Think Avo on Toast with a Brunch Salad. Perfect.
This is a Bittman inspired salad from his 100 Salads. You might like to try some of his other salads – for example, Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Salad with Walnuts, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Garlic and Pine Nuts and White Beans, and Charred Tomatoes with Mint and Lime.
Another beautiful Koshimbir from Maharashtra – one that is cooling and exquisitely suited to hot summery days.
Koshimbir is Maharashtrian term for salad – Kosambari in Kannada and Kosumalli in Tamil are other names that you will see for Indian salads.
Many different combinations of vegetables are used to make different varieties of Koshimbir. In Maharashtra there are 2 main types of salads (although you will often see these confused, or equated):
- Khamang Kakdi – a salad with roasted and ground peanuts, with yoghurt just as a coating or dressing
- Kadichi Koshimbir – a salad without the crushed peanuts and with a reasonable amount of yoghurt.
This recipe is for the first type, made with cucumber, green coriander leaves, a touch of yoghurt and crushed peanuts. It is incredibly cooling, so is perfect for hot summery days. It can also be made with boiled or steamed pumpkin or potato.
This is a great fasting dish if made without the asafoetida (hing) and coriander leaves.