Kosambari is a fresh Indian salad with pulses, great as a starter or as a snack. What makes this salad special is the mix of veggie used and the seasoning made from curry leaves and mustard. Below we'll show you how to make kosambari with grated carrots, cucumber, mango and shredded coconut.
The pulses used in the traditional kosambari are split bengal gram. These lentils come in many names. Depending on your region, you may find them in your local grocer as:
split Bengal gram
petite yellow lentils
split moong dal
split mung beans
split green gram
They look like very tiny yellow (or green) split lentils. If you can't find them, you can also opt for bean sprouts.
In the classic kosambari recipe, you let these lentils soak for a few hours, and then eat them without further cooking. We have tested this technique, but we prefer to toast the lentils. Let us explain why we decided to alter the classic recipe this way.
Reason number one: flavour. All pulses contain a compound called saponin. If you have ever eaten raw beans or lentils and thought they tasted a bit like soap, you have saponin to thank. You can minimize this flavour by rinsing the beans thoroughly, but ultimately only cooking will get rid of it.
Reason number two: food safety. Eating raw pulses can have negative health effects due to a compound called lectin. On top of it, we can't assume that the brand of beans out there are all organic and produced without using toxic chemicals.
To keep you happy, satisfied, and safe, we decided to toast the lentils just enough for them to be cooked but still crunchy. The lentils used here are very small, so 3 minutes of cooking was enough.
Overall, our carrot kosambari is a delightful and refreshing salad that you can serve as a starter to other Indian dishes. Soaking excluded, it will take you less than 10 minutes to put together.