Kosambari

We celebrate a plethora of festivals between August & November every year. Every festival is celebrated distinctively in various regions across India. It is quite astonishing to find how the cuisine, culture, and customs vary from one region to other within our country. Kosambari is a traditional lentil salad popular in South India (particularly in Andhra, Karnataka and some parts of Tamilnadu) with little variations. This salad is offered to deities in this festive season and also served to guests at the wedding banquets or festive gatherings.

ksmbri-1 Kosambari
Moong dal kosambari

Generally, my mother or grandmothers prepare sundal, a similar traditional lentil salad, for every festival celebrated in our house. Nevertheless I had plenty of opportunities to relish this salad 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 never missed to offer kosambari as neivedyam 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).

ksmbri-2 Kosambari
Kosambari as prasadam

Sundal Vs Kosambari:

My grandparents preferred sundal made using cooked lentils or legumes. They felt sundal is easily digestible than kosambari made using uncooked Bengal gram. But it became one of the most favorite salads to me and my siblings albeit not favoured by the elders in our family.

ksmbri-4 Kosambari

Kosambari is a hearty salad that can be taken either as a meal or as a mid-morning/ evening snack. It is also a healthy salad with little or no carbs & fats, so people who are on weight loss diet would like to take this salad frequently. Some prefer 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.

ksmbri-3 Kosambari
Kosambari, a moong dal salad

Now I have posted the recipe for traditional kosambari. Although the recipe is too simple to follow, we need to add all the ingredients at the right time to make this salad delicious, even the nicely crackled mustard seeds also enhance the flavor. Hence I recommend to stick to the recipe as below.

ksmbri-5 Kosambari
Simple Kosambari

Ingredients:

I feel we can adjust the ingredients according to the desired texture and flavor, so I did not mention the quantity of ingredients.

  1. Split green gram (paasi paruppu) – soaked for 2 hours and drained completely
  2. Grated coconut
  3. Minced ginger
  4. Finely chopped green chillies
  5. Fresh coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  6. A squeeze of 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
Kosambari-ingredients Kosambari

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 generously, and I found that too many/little mustard seeds would also affect the flavour.

Kosambari-recipe Kosambari
Kosambari recipe

Tips & Tweaks:

  • It is very important to soak the lentils for 2 hours, else we could notice the raw smell of lentils.
  • If you like to add chopped onion & tomato into this salad, then there is no need to add coconut.
  • Adding cooked ingredients like sweetcorn, cabbage, peas, peanuts, etc. into this salad would turn this dish into a mixture of sundal & kosambari.
  • Instead we can simply make this salad with quite a few fresh vegetables like carrot and/or cucumber as shown below.
Kosambari-varieties Kosambari
Carrot Kosambari & Cucumber Kosambari

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  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? 😉 🙂 Well, surely a little try-out won’t harm… 😀

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

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

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

  4. I’ve never tasted kosambari before but now after reading this simple and healthful preparation I have to taste it! Thank you for healthy wholesome recipes, Megala.

    1. Yes, you should try this, you would have never imagined that this simple dish is so delicious, and you will come to know why it is such a popular salad. 🙂
      Thank you so much, Sheela!

  5. And I always love that touch of coconut ? ?
    I guess a country is really beautiful and special for all these regional traditions and celebrations ?
    What a great idea of using the leaves as plates ?
    It must be really delicious and healthy ?
    Thank you Megala ??

    1. Certainly! We are just 3-4 hours away from Singapore. You can plan for a visit here to witness the festive mood during Navrathri or Diwali, the popular festivals, celebrated in October & November. 🙂
      I’m glad you liked this recipe. Thank you so much.

    1. Mango is added mainly to complement the sweetness of coconut & carrot. Since lemon juice is added into this salad, it is not necessary to use mango also.
      Thanks much, Tracey.

  6. Got introduced with this delicious salad after settling down in south India. Initially I was a bit hesitant about having raw lentils, but slowly developed taste and now it’s my favorite salad!!

    1. Yes, my grandparents also felt uneasy about taking uncooked lentils, but we, as children, did not think about it whether it is cooked or not. 🙂
      Thank you so much.

  7. A MUST salad on festivals…one of my family’s fav too ?
    And these kinda salads are much needed for vegetarians like us ?

  8. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe…here in Assam too, such preparations with soaked lentils are offered to deities as prasad… I guess, there must be some cultural connections…?

    1. Yes, I’m little busy nowadays, and hence posting a simple recipe here. I will catch up with you soon. Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

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