The most famous South Indian salad is kosumbri, which is said to be the favorite food of Lord Krishna. It can be made with various ingredients but usually contains sprouts. In this version two kinds of lentils (channa dal and urad dal) and mustard seed are lightly fried and added to give an unusual crispy texture.
- 4 cups of lentil sprouts or some other legume sprouts
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
- 1 chopped green chili, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut (fresh or dried nonsweetened flakes)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon corn oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon channa dal
- 1 tablespoon urad dal
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Grate the cucumber, sprinkle with salt, and leave it for 1⁄2 hour. Drain and pat with paper towels, squeezing out the water. Add the cucumber to the sprouts, together with the cilantro leaves, chili, and coconut. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and mix well.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Put in the channa dal and cook for 1 minute; then add the urad dal. When they are brown, add the mustard seed. When it starts to splatter, add the asafoetida powder, stir briefly, and then add to the salad. Salt to taste.
Colleen Taylor Sen is a freelance writer specializing in food and travel with a focus on India. Her articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and Travel and Leisure. She is a student at the Sivananda Yoga Center.