Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kosambari, easy breezy salad - light on the stomach, good for the spirit

It has been a while since I wrote here, I really wanted to say 'Thank you' to all you wonderful people that stopped by and made things easier for me with your thoughts and prayers. You may not realize it but your act of kindness has meant a lot to me. I am overwhelmed and grateful by the love I have received from so many people, most of whom I have never even had a chance to meet in real life. Life is very pleasantly strange. So again, a big Thank you to all of you, your thoughts are very appreciated.

Past few weeks have been rough and although the ride is definitely not over yet, I feel like we are doing the best under the circumstances. Nammamma seems have reached a balance of comfort and happiness which is a blessing. I realize that the act of cooking, eating, feeding & writing makes me a happy person and I don't want to let go of something that easily is one of the things I enjoy, as does my other favorite activity of reading. Here is something (Mankutimmana Kagga by D.V.G) from one of my favorite Kannada poets that I have been rereading for a while now..with an extremely light translation attempted by me.

Baalkeyali noorentu todaku tinukugaluntu
kelke maankegaligavu jaggavondinisu
golkaredarenu phala? guddaalenu phala?
palkiridu taalikolo Mankutimma
(You encounter many hurdles & difficulties in life, these will not go away at your asking, there is no use crying over it and no use fighting it. Just grin & bear with patience what life dishes out to you)

We (most of USA) did a Spring forward today with clocks getting reset to adjust the hour we gained earlier in the Fall. While it is not good to lose an hour of sleep, Spring holds its promises to look forward to. My rhododendrons are perking up and I can see buds becoming fuller by day in the Camellia bush underneath the window. I will get ready to transport the Jasmine and other flowering pots outdoors in a couple of weeks. So I am ok with the lost hour :-).

Today also happens to be Maha Shivaratri, a celebration to remember and practice self control and apply a little bit of oneself to something bigger than oneself. Unlike many other Hindu festivals, Maha Shivaratri is not about food, it is a day of living simply and self reflection. In the spirit of the day, I made this very simple salad called Kosambari or Kosambri in Kannada. This is one of the very popular versions of the kosambari Nammamma made on most festivals. As the weather gets warmer, this salad makes a wonderful lunch, protein rich with the lentils, citrusy with the lemon juice, taste enhanced with coconut and not at all heavy on the stomach.
What do you need to make Sautekayi(cucumber) Kosambari?
1 medium sized tender cucumber - about 2 cups finely chopped
1/2 cup moong dal/hesaru bele/pesara pappu
1/2 cup grated coconut - preferably fresh, but frozen works well, see notes below
1 Tsp salt
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp chopped cilantro
1 Tsp oil
1/2 Tsp mustard
1-2 green chilies - chopped small
1/8 Tsp asafoetida
How do you make Sautekayi Kosambari?
  • Soak moong dal for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until it plumps up. 
  • Rinse and wash the soaked moongdal, drain the water and keep aside.
  • Wash, peel and chop cucumber in to small pieces, you can use the entire cucumber if it is tender, else remove the seeds and use only the flesh part. 
  • Mix soaked moong dal, chopped cucumber, chopped cilantro, salt, lemon juice and grated coconut together. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and chopped chilies and let mustard sizzle. Add asafoetida when the mustard starts to pop, switch off the stove and pour it on top of the dal and cucumber mixture. 
  • Mix well and enjoy as a salad or a light lunch. 
  • If using frozen coconut, keep the coconut outside to thaw and let it come to room temperature. alternatively, you can put the frozen coconut in a bowl and keep it in a wider bowl with hot water. Take care not to have water flowing into the coconut bowl. 
  • Kosambari is typically a spicy, tangy mixture. Go ahead and adjust the lemon juice, green chilies to suit your palate. 
  • Asafoetida gives a wonderful flavor to the kosambari, do not skimp on it. 
  • There is no hard rule about the proportions used in this recipe, we love it with loads of cucumber and the amount of moong dal used is less. Feel free to change it any way to suit your taste. 
  • As I said this is our favorite version of kosambari, Nammamma makes it with grated carrots instead of cucumber or soaked chana dal instead of moong dal. I mix & match depending on the menu for the day. 


NamsVeni Pothas said...

the cool cool kosambari is most welcome in the summer season which is already high in India( mostly South India) . very glad to know that Amma is comfortable with the situation. so you are also. yes dear we must accept our life as it is . wishing you and Amma best of luck. looking forward for more and more cool dishes in the summer

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Glad to know about nammama...The kosmalli looks good, though I'm not a big fan of it

Priya Suresh said...

Glad to see back dear, life have to move, thank god for giving u many wonderful friends and happy u are blessed to receive their love in those situation.

Kosumalli looks excellent and healthy.

Premalatha Aravindhan said...

Healthy salad,loved it...

Anonymous said...

Happy to Follow you.. wud be glad if u can follow back too and pass my Liebster award to you

Kannada Cuisine said...

Very relieved to know that your Amma is doing better. Best to all of you.

Vinodini Ramanathan said...

So, tomorrow I have invited my colleagues over for a lunch at my place. The main course is taken care of my amma. However, I planned on making a simple yet tasty salad such as this, with some innovation. Just wondering if you have any suggestions on this. :-)