Last updated: December 2022

Indian cuisine is well known for its extraordinary flavors. With a plethora of lip-smacking delicacies to choose from, it never fails to satiate the taste buds. With HS surfacing in my early twenties, I was compelled to embrace a low-key diet and eliminated many of my all-time favorites that were prepared with liquid jaggery, soaked in creamy masala sauce or deep-fried to crispy perfection.

Here is a popular South Indian crunchy salad made with lentils and cucumber. It is usually prepared on festival days as a side dish but it can also be consumed as an evening snack to soothe hunger pangs. Keeping HS in mind, I had to modify the recipe to suit my needs.

Serving size: Makes 4 servings, 1 cup per person

Prep time: 15 minutes (minus the time needed to soak the lentils)
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients for kosambari

  • 2 tablespoons yellow lentils or split yellow moong dal (If yellow lentils in a slightly larger proportion agrees with you, go ahead and use 1/4 cup. Adding more lentils causes inflammation for me, hence I limit the quantity.)
  • Enough water to soak the lentils
  • 3 tablespoons grated (wet) coconut
  • 1.5 cups finely chopped green cucumber (Be sure to peel the cucumber and remove the seeds before chopping them.)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
  • 1/16 teaspoon black pepper powder (ideally 1 finely chopped green chilli is used, but it doesn’t agree with me)
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar-free kokum syrup (Ideally, 1 teaspoon lemon juice is used for this recipe but anything strongly citric can cause flare-ups, so I avoid it. Kokum may turn the salad slightly pink.)
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/16 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 3–4 curry leaves

Directions for kosambari

  1. Rinse the lentils in water to remove dust or unwanted particles.
  2. Put the lentils in a bowl and let them soak in room temperature water for about 2-4 hours.
  3. Use a sieve/ fine mesh strainer to drain the water from the lentils.
  4. Rinse them once in fresh water and leave it in the strainer for about 15 min to let any remaining water drain completely before using it for the recipe.
  5. Put the lentils in a bowl.
  6. Add 1.5 cup finely chopped cucumber, ½ cup grated carrot, 3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut, 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves, 2 teaspoons of kokum syrup and sprinkle a 1/16th teaspoon of black pepper powder.
  7. Use a spatula to mix everything well.

Directions for tempering

  1. In a small pan, heat 1 tablespoon of organic cold-pressed coconut oil. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds to the hot oil. Make sure the flame is on low while the mustards splutter.
  2. Add 1/16 teaspoon of asafoetida and 3-4 curry leaves into the oil. Turn off the flame or switch off the induction and stir for a few seconds.
  3. Pour the tempering mixture on the salad.
  4. If refrigerating, do not add tempering or pepper. Always add them along with salt just before serving or consuming.

This recipe was inspired and modified from Dassana's Veg Recipes.

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Nutrition facts

per serving

  • calories: 221
  • cholesterol: 0mg
  • dietary fiber: 2g
  • protein: 3g
  • sodium: 93 mg
  • sugars: 13g
  • total carbohydrates: 20g
  • total fat: 15g
Photograph by Mandira Harinath. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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