Thursday, May 19, 2011

Putanipudi Kosambari

  Its amazing how smells are associated with memories, sometimes pleasant and sometimes unpleasant.  I am sitting under a fan whirring at full speed in the heat of North Karnataka when I smell Rasna and Kissan squashes. The smell of new books and chalk dust transport me to school, the smell of Johnson's baby powder brings back memories of my kids as babies. The smell of mangoes and jasmine remind me of festivals, specially Ramanavami.

During festivals and on auspicious occasions, its common tradition to invite married women for arishina-kunkuma or haldi-kumkum. Fruit, kosambari, kumkum, betel leaves and betel nuts, glass bangles, blouse pieces, coconut, flowers, coins are commonly given, the entire set of things called as a tambula or ele adike. A glass of cold panaka or juice is also offered along with a hand made fan. When refrigerators weren't yet a common household appliance, the panaka would be kept cold, with a wet cloth wrapped around the vessel of juice. The dripping wet cloth dries in no time in the heat, making it necessary to wet it all over again. Offering  panaka and the hand fan symbolize soothing people during the hot summer, thereby symbolizing a deed of punya.

Kosambari is a kind of salad usually made of soaked moong dal, or chana dal or sprouts, seasoned with green chillies, hing, salt, oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves and lemon juice garnished with the quintessential grated fresh coconut and chopped fresh coriander. Chopped cucumber or grated carrot are sometimes added. This salad is a very essential part of a traditional South Indian meal, makes a very tasty, nutritious and filling snack when eaten on its own. When offered as part of  tambula, its served on betel or badam  leaves or a donne (a kind of container made of dried leaves). Of course its now served most of the times in plastic containers for ease and convenience.

One kind of kosambari popular in North Karnataka is Putanipudi Kosambari. Roasted Bengal gram is called as putani in some parts of North Karnataka. Its also called as hurigadale. Pudi means powder. In this particular preparation, its coarsely powdered, mixed with fresh coconut, cucumber and seasoned. This again can be eaten by itself and also as an accompaniment  to hot rice and ghee.

This kosambari is very easy to prepare and does not need any prior planning. A few simple and common ingredients come together to make this tasty and spicy salad.The below given proportions make enough to serve 3-4 people. You could make more altering the proportions suitably. Do remember, a generous addition of hing, a good amount of heat from the green chillies and enough lemon juice or raw mango are absolutely needed to make this salad. Otherwise it will be very bland and may not taste very good. This salad is meant to be dry with a little moisture from the coconut and the cucumber.


Roasted Bengal Gram - 1/2 cup, coarsely powdered.
Cucumber - chopped very fine, 2 tablespoons (refer note)
Grated fresh coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chillies, chopped very fine - 2-3
Lemon juice or grated raw mango to taste
Asafoetida / Hing- A generous pinch
Salt to taste

For the tempering
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Mustard  seeds - 3/4 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1/2 teaspoon
Hing - A pinch
Curry leaves, a few
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine for garnish

Procedure:  In a bowl, mix the Roasted Bengal gram powder, salt, hing, fresh coconut and green chillies. Add the lemon juice or grated raw mango. Heat the oil, add the mustard seeds, let it sputter. Add the urad dal, hing and curry leaves. Add to the rest of the mixture and mix well.

Add the chopped cucumber just before serving. If you add it earlier, the kosambari will become soggy as the cucumber will leave out water. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve.

Note: Use English cucumber and not the variety used for making salads as it has a lot of water content. If you add too much cucumber, you will end up with a soggy salad.


Hari Chandana P said...

Authentic and delicious recipe.. looks so divine.. amazing clicks too !!
Indian Cuisine

Nivedita Thadani said...

as Hari Chandana said, its authentic, still many people do this and follow the tradition. I love this salad and which is perfect in mango season :-)
Thanks for so detailed post, it took me to my childhood. :-)))

chef and her kitchen said...

Hmm...lovely recipe..never made though...but sounds yummy

sumitra said...

What you call Kosambari I guess is what we call 'Sundal'. But I have never seen it made before with roasted bengal gram. Looks very yummy. Will try it out soon, thanks for the recipe!

Jayashree said...

As always loved the write up leading to the traditional , never -heard -of
recipe ever before. Enjoyed both the recipe & the intro.

Vani said...

Never knew of this. SOunds yummy!

Priya Suresh said...

Wat an authentic dish, love the write up and never heard about this..lovely presentation..

Deepthi Shankar said...

never knew there was a kosambari like this .. I love to munch on hurigadale, shud try this sometime

KrithisKitchen said...

Simple awesome.. addition of roasted gram dhal makes this really very tasty!

Unknown said...

This is a very new recipe and looks very very delicious. I absolutely love reading how you explained festivals and tambulam, lots of memories of watching mom do it in my growing up years :)

Nitha said...

New to me.... looks great..

Shubha said...

presentation is lovely suma, you covered all the finest details possible...

Divya Kudua said...

Wow,you've written about the tradition so well.I remember,whenever I am in Blr during such festive occasions,mil takes me to her friends' houses as she knows I enjoy all such rituals.How I miss those!!Kosambari is one of my favorite,but this one's new,looks quite simple!!

Nachiketa said...

What a lovely post... really enjoyed reading it... :)

The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
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