If you’ve read about my constant love-hate relationship with South Indian cuisine, you’ll probably understand why I still keep going back to it. Conditioned by Delhi’s culture and cuisine, I have disliked authentic south Indian flavours for the better part of my childhood.
I never really pondered if the keerai koothu (spinach curry) my mother prepared had all the health benefits I was searching for in a bowl of Quinoa. The past few months, have changed me a lot as a person, and everytime I try to replenish my creativity, I start referencing my childhood. Those memories of my mother running after me with a ball of thair-saadum (curd rice) in her hand she sooner or later stuffed inside my mouth with a tangy-lemony cabbage curry . Even though I never appreciated the food, they are the sharpest memories when I think about food.
To be honest, I’m still am quite averse to eating rice, and the authentic south-Indian recipes that are a part of the ‘daily’ menu at home. But I have started looking at the ‘daily menu’ from a fresh perspective, from the perspective of art.
So I am always looking to create, re-create and re-make dishes that I may or may not have been fond of as a child, but feel strongly about their combination of flavours.
The Kosambari salad, or the moong dal salad as it is known has different versions in every South Indian household was one such dish. Some make it with corn, some with cucumber, and few others with carrots and lemon juice. The crunch might vary, but the flavour, not so much.
I thought I’d give this my own ‘European’ (read wanna-be) twist. I added pomegranate to have a sweet salady feel, some Parmesan cheese to contrast the pomegranate, a few pieces of crushed cottage cheese and a few leaves of tulsi – instead of the usual mint.
To my surprise, the flavours went really well, and turned out extremely delicious, and healthy too! (Bonus for all). If you’re a salad lover but have run out of salad ideas to eat without adding the regular ingredients, this one should be on top of your list.
Here’s everything you’ll need to cook this dish:
- One Carrot
- One Cucumber
- Half Pomegranate
- Half lemon
- Five – six leaves of tulsi
- Parmesan cheese
- Cottage cheese
- A fist-full of moong dal soaked overnight in water
- Two – three slices of raw mango
Chop all veggies diced and small. Add all above ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Drain out excess water from the dal, and cucumber. Add two layers of Parmesan and Cottage cheese one after the other. Once done, serve chilled with a dash of lemon!
Makes two bowls.
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