There's one salad I always looked forward to every summer as a kid. A cucumber kosambari. This popular salad from Karnataka is a perfectly healthy option that complements one of Karnataka's most iconic rice dishes - the rich bisi bele bath. Just like the rest of India, cucumber becomes 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 being rich in fibres, cucumber is also rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin A and Vitamin K which possess multiple health benefits. Aside from salads and pachadis (raitas) where cucumber is served raw, cucumber is also a curry and chutney ingredient in Andhra. We round up some flavourful yet simple recipes that you can try this summer:
1. Recipe: Cucumber Kosambari
This fresh and light salad is normally made with cucumber and moong dal. It's also part of festive menus in many South Indian homes during festivals like 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 chillies: 2 or 3
- Juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon (depending on how tangy you want it)
- Asafoetida: 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt: to taste
For the seasoning:
- Rice bran oil or coconut oil: 1/2 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
- Red chilli: 1
1. Soak moong dal for one hour.
2. Drain water completely.
3. Chop cucumber (fine).
4. Stir all ingredients in a bowl with required amount of salt and lemon juice.
5. Temper the mustard and red chilli. Now, add it to the bowl and mix well.
2. Dosakaya Chutney / Kheera Dosakaya Chutney
One of my favourite chutneys from Andhra, this one works really well with dosa.
- 1 cup cucumber peeled and diced
- 2-3 teaspoons of finely chopped cucumber
- 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
- 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp urad dal
- 1 tbsp channa dal
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 2 red chilli
- 1 green chilli
- 3 pods garlic
- Small piece of tamarind
- Small piece of jaggery
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt as required
1. Dry roast the peanuts on a low flame for about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool it down.
2. Heat oil in a pan add mustard, red chilli, channa dal, urad dal, and cumin seed, and fry on a low flame. Then add garlic and green chilli and sauté it.
3. Cool the mixture down.
4. Toss a small piece of tamarind, salt, turmeric, a piece of jaggery, roasted peanuts & add the sautéed mixture into a mixer and grind it coarse. Add the diced cucumber and grind it to a paste.
5. Transfer it to a bowl, add 2-3 teaspoons of the finely chopped cucumber mix well.
6. Temper with mustard seeds and dal.
3. Recipe - Cucumber pachadi
This is my 'go to' summer fix. It works as a great accompaniment for rice and sambar or rasam or even a biryani.
- 1 Cucumber (grated)
- Curd: to taste
- Sambar powder: (to taste)
- Asafoetida: a pinch
- Salt: (to taste)
- Curry leaves: a few sprigs
- Urad dal: 1 tsp
- 1-2 dried red chillies
- Cashew nuts (optional): 5-7
1. Mix the grated cucumber with salt, sambar powder and asafoetida
2. Whisk the curd and blend it with the cucumber.
3. Temper the 'seasoning ingredients' in rice bran or coconut oil and pour over the cucumber-curd mix. Stir well before you serve
4. Recipe: Dosakaya Kura (Cucumber Tomato Curry)
This spicy Andhra curry works equally well with rice or rotis
- 200 gm cucumber peeled and diced.
- 2 medium-sized Tomatoes
- 1 Green chilli
- 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
- 1/4 Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Finely chopped garlic
- 1/4 tsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- A pinch of Asafoetida powder
- 2 tsp oil
1. Chop the green chillies fine and cut the cucumber and tomato into small cubes.
2. Temper the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. Add chopped green chilies once the cumin and mustard seeds splutter.
3. Add turmeric powder with the chopped cucumber and tomatoes.
4. Stir the vegetables. Add red chilli powder, salt and sugar and mix well.
5. Cook covered on medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of water if it gets too dry. Stir a few times to make sure the vegetables cook evenly.
6. Switch off the flame when the vegetables have softened but still retain their shape.
Try these recipes for a refreshing meal.
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.