There is a salad I looked forward to every summer as a kid. A cucumber kosambari. This popular Karnataka salad is a perfectly healthy option that complements one of Karnataka’s most iconic rice dishes – the rich bisi bele bath. Like the rest of India, cucumber is becoming a recurring ingredient in summer diets in many South Indian homes. With about 95% water, there are few vegetables that can cool you down like cucumber.
In addition to keeping you hydrated and high in fiber, cucumber is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and K, which have multiple health benefits. Apart from salads and pachadis (raitas) where cucumber is served raw, cucumber is also a curry and chutney ingredient in Andhra. We collect some tasty yet simple recipes for you to try this summer:
Recipe: Cucumber Kosambari
This fresh and light salad is normally made with cucumber and moong dal. It is also part of festive menus in many South Indian homes during festivals such as Ram Navami.
- Moong dal: 1/2 cup
- Finely chopped cucumber: 1 to 1 and a half cups
- Grated coconut: 3 tablespoons
- Chopped coriander leaves: 1/4 cup
- Chopped green peppers: 2 or 3
- Juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon (depending on how spicy you like it)
- Asafoetida: 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt: to taste
For the herbs:
- Rice bran oil or coconut oil: 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard seed: 1/2 teaspoon
- Red pepper: 1
Soak moong dal for one hour.
Drain water completely.
Cut the cucumber (finely).
Stir all ingredients in a bowl with the required amount of salt and lemon juice.
Temper the mustard and red pepper. Now add it to the bowl and mix well.
Dosakaya Chutney / Kheera Dosakaya Chutney
One of my favorite chutneys from Andhra, this one works really well with dosa.
- 1 cup cucumber peeled and diced
- 2-3 teaspoons finely chopped cucumber
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 1/2 tbsp mustard seed
- 1 tbsp urad dal
- 1 tbsp channa dal
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 2 red peppers
- 1 green pepper
- 3 pods of garlic
- Small piece of tamarind
- Small piece of cane sugar
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt as needed
Dry roast the peanuts on a low heat for about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Heat oil in a pan, add mustard, red pepper, channa dal, urad dal and cumin seeds and fry over low heat. Then add garlic and green pepper and fry it.
Cool the mixture.
Throw in a small piece of tamarind, salt, turmeric, a piece of jaggery, roasted peanuts and add the sautéed mixture to a mixer and grind it coarsely. Add the diced cucumber and grind into a paste.
Transfer to a bowl, add 2-3 teaspoons of the chopped cucumber mixture well.
‘Temper’ with mustard seed and dal.
This is my ‘go to’ summer fix. It works as a great accompaniment to rice and sambar or rasam or even a biryani.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and coach for cultural intelligence. School lunch boxes are usually the start of our culinary discoveries. That curiosity has not diminished. It has only grown stronger as I have explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining around the world. I have discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motives. I am equally passionate about consumer technology writing and travel.