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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Thai Style Green Beans and Baby Sweetcorn in Coconut Sauce

Fancy something spicy, green and delicious? This is just the thing if you are feeling a bit jaded and under nourished. Ladle your bowl full of steaming rice and top with this coconut sauced Thai style Green Bean Curry, and enjoy your day.

Green beans are such a gorgeous vegetable, and one that we don’t use enough. We are working to remedy that! A quick and gorgeous curry in the Thai Style.

Our original recipe used only Green Beans, and feel free to do that. I love the crunchy addition of the baby sweetcorn; it adds a colour and flavour contrast. We have also made it with bok choy and green beans – that also works very well. In today’s version coconut milk is added.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Avial, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Thai Eggplants with Sesame and Soy.

You might also like our Bean recipes, and SE Asian recipes. Our specifically Thai recipes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

This recipe is a variation on one from our first blog that existed from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

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Green Beans with Tomatoes | Fagiolini in Umido

Green Beans are versatile and delicious. They are common in many parts of the world, so common in fact that we take them for granted. The humble green bean is always there, forming part of our meals without hogging the lime light and without us paying too much attention to them.

But I have some recipes that will change that view. This recipe is Italian, a simple dish but delicious in that the flavours of the beans shine against the tomatoes. It is rustic, a farm dish indeed, but worthy of any table.

Similar dishes include Green Beans Braised in Tomatoes and Olive Oil, Gujarati Green Beans, Green Beans with Freekeh, Green Beans with Lentil Crumble, and Italian Flat Beans with Blue Cheese.

Browse all of our Green Bean recipes and all of our Italian dishes. Or feel free to browse our Early Spring 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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Potato Bhaji

I love the book Tiffin by Srinivas. It is a terrific read with lots of lovely food-related stories. The recipes are full flavoured and perfectly balanced. It is a book I highly recommend. I have cooked a few dishes from the book and all are exceptional.

Today’s recipe is Potato Bhaaji, a warm spicy potato dish. It can be served as a snack, entree (starter) or side dish. It is perfect with dosai.

Similar recipes include Potato Poha, Green Tomato Bhaji, and Okra Bhaji.

Browse all of our Bhaji recipes and all of our Potato dishes. You can browse all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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40 of Our Best Coolers for Summer Heat Waves | Drinks for Seriously Hot Weather

In heatwave conditions there is nothing like something cool and refreshing to drink and to help to keep our liquid intake at good levels. My routine each morning is to make our juice, tea or infusion (to be iced), coolers, iced coffee or lassi drinks ready for the day. Our afternoon tea, in the hottest part of the day, is usually in the shade of trees (if the temperature allows) or in the air conditioned kitchen by the large windows. Sipping something cool or icy on these days is heaven.

Many of our hot teas and infusions are perfect in Summer when iced. Just adjust the recipe to infuse, cool, then refrigerate. Use spices or herbs for iced infusions.

Enjoy these recipes, they just might inspire you and change the way that you think about cooling drinks on hot days.

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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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South Indian Vegetable Soup

Another lovely South Indian soup from the Cook and See series of books. Vol 4 of these books is by Priya Ramkumar, Meenakshi Ammal’s granddaughter. It is simpler than the other volumes, introducing recipes of the early 2000’s  rather than the traditional fare of the 1950’s. I love the soups, as simple and easy as they are. Today’s is Vegetable Soup – vegetables are cooked till tender then coarsely mashed before being served with some cream swirled through.

Similar recipes include Indian Potato and Tomato Soup, South Indian Carrot Soup, and South Indian Green Peas Soup.

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

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Brinjal Kootu | Eggplant Kootu

Kootu is a thick, coconut-heavy dal dish, tangy with tamarind and spiced with sambar spices. Today our Kootu is made with eggplant. It is easily and quickly made by simmering the eggplant in tamarind and spices before adding the dal and coconut.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Ezhukari Kuzhambu (Pongal Kootu), Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime JuiceBrinjal Asadu, Cluster Bean Dal Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Dal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Eggplant Bean dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Bean Curd (Tofu) and Mushrooms with Vegetables

I have mentioned my ancient Chinese cookbook before, the one direct from the 1970’s, bright orange cover, published by Sunset, and absolutely falling apart now. It is held together with a bulldog clip. It is still available online, I see – leftover copies and second hand ones.  It is not surprising, the recipes are great. Mostly non-veg, but with enough veg recipes for me to still want to keep it on my bookshelves – at least until I have cooked every one of the veg dishes.

Today’s dish is simple but delicious. Tofu in a mushroom sauce with either broccoli, beans or carrots. Delicious. I have replaced oyster sauce with miso – you might like to use a mushroom based vegetarian oyster sauce if you prefer.

Similar recipes include Broccoli and Chickpeas with Orange Butter Sauce, Chinese Cold Cucumber, Green Beans with Garlic and Sesame, and Sizzling Rice Squares.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes and all of our Chinese fare. Have a look at the recipes we have made from the cookbook Chinese Cooking. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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