Summertime Lentil Salad With Mango & Raw Papaya. Just Because.

I remember my grandmother making lentil and cucumber salad when I was little…soaked yellow moong dal (green gram) with grated coconut, lemon juice and tempered with mustard seeds. It isn’t really Indian if it hasn’t been tempered!! I kind of forgot about it altogether until I rediscovered the recipe in the May 2012 issue of BBC Good Food India, and I thought this is the perfect time to make it. This salad is light, refreshing and full of protein, which is an added bonus.

The actual dish, kosambari, is native to Udupi cuisine from Karnataka in Southern India. Similar lentil salads are also eaten in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, where they are called kosumalli and koshimbir. (Yes, I Googled it. A little trivia is always good, even if it comes from a third party.) The recipe in the magazine was the traditional one with lentils and cucumber, but since I Am Recipe Tweaker, I made my lentil salad with raw papaya and mango. Mangoes are so wonderful and I try to put them in everything when the season comes around. And the raw papaya would be firmer than cucumbers so I opted for it.

This salad is extremely easy to make, and the burnt chilli, asafoetida and mustard seeds give it quite a kick 🙂 (Asafoetida is used as a seasoning agent in a lot of vegetarian dishes in India, especially among communities where garlic is not consumed.)

I am also happy to report that I picked out the chilli flakes and fed this to my son who had about 3 tablespoons worth.

Mangoes brighten up any salad. Really. Truly.

SUMMERTIME LENTIL SALAD  (Adapted from BBC Good Food India May 2012)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup moong dal, (green gram or mung) soaked for 1 hour and drained
  • 1/4 cup masoor dal, (red lentils) soaked for 1 hour and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (you may use more if you wish)
  • 1/4 cup raw papaya, cubed
  • 1/4 cup ripe mango, cubed (I used a whole medium-sized mango because I love mangoes, so it was more than 1/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste

For The Tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder

METHOD

  • Put all the ingredients (except for the tempering agents!) together in a large bowl and combine well so that everything is evenly mixed.
  • Next, put the tadka (tempered seasoning) together. Heat the oil in a tadka dish or very small wok. When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds and the chilli flakes, and allow the mustard seeds to pop. The chilli flakes will also char a little. Add the asafoetida powder, and pull off heat immediately. Pour the seasoning into the lentil mixture and toss well.

Don’t pink lentils look pretty?

PS- I just realized, this dish is also vegan!! Woohoo.

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Coconut Green Beans And Confessions Of A Window Shopaholic

I’ve gotten mighty sluggish with my posting. And I manage to say that each time I put up a new post. And this one is going to be a long one.

The truth cannot be denied: I am a procrastinator. I have been meaning to address this flaw of mine, (for years, in fact) but the thing is…I keep putting it off. (Get it? I am so embarrassed by my procrasto pathetic-ness that I am even making feeble jokes about it.)

It seems to be a combination of procrastination and daydreaming. When I was in school, I would sit down to study, and then let my mind wander off in the middle… making a lesson I could finish in an hour take up 2 hours of my study time. Once I grew older, finished college and started working, that side of me faded away. I would just focus on the task at hand, do it quickly, do it well, and move on. I guess the nature of my work as a news producer did not leave much room for letting my mind wander. There is no ‘later’ in live news…either you get your show together or you don’t.

But now that I work from home, and I have tangible deadlines as opposed to rolling news…well, there is always room for ‘later.’ I have a very comfortable schedule and I am always well in time with my submissions. But I know that I could finish so much faster if I didn’t waste a lot of time online.

I have also been feeling guilty about the amount of time I spend in front of the computer. I randomly browse online marketplaces, fill up my cart and then remove the items one by one. Modern day window shopping. WASTE OF TIME.

This was clearly not healthy. For one, staring at products for so long…and two, wanting all those things I clearly did not need. It was not healthy. I am certainly not deprived- I have so many unread books and unworn clothes- but the fact is that the more you browse, the nicer and shinier new things look, and the older and shabbier the things look in your cupboard.

And the worst part, the one I am most guilty about- all that wasted shopping cart time could be spent with my son. I needed to ground myself and snap back to reality from my cybercloud.

So I cooked home-style stuff that reminds me of my childhood. And yes, started spending less time in front of the computer. (This blog is time well-invested. Not like a cyber shopping cart.)

I have been eating beans thoran or coconut green beans since forever. My mom would make it all the time, and it is one of my favourite vegetable sides. We usually have it with rice and curry, but it can be a great meal for someone who is trying to avoid carbs and gluten. Lots of protein!

The basic preparation is stir-fry style, mixed with coconut, turmeric powder, curry leaves and tempered mustard seeds.There is no right and wrong recipe, and everyone’s thoran is tweaked to their taste buds. I like adding some split black gram with the husk removed (white lentils). Mustard seeds, once they pop, add a hint of sharpness, and the black gram lends a nutty flavour. I love crunching on the browned lentils, so as you can see, I added quite a lot. That is also why I am calling my version coconut green beans instead of beans thoran… it’s not because I am trying to sound colonial.

COCONUT GREEN BEANS

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 grams beans (chopped or julienned)
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon hulled split black gram
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 chopped green chilli or 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 large clove of garlic, sliced thinly
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

METHOD

  • Heat the oil in a large wok.
  • When it gets hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.
  • Next, add the turmeric, split black gram, curry leaves, green chilli/chilli powder, garlic and swish around; allow the garlic to soften.
  • Add the beans and stir fry for a minute.
  • Add in the grated coconut and salt and mix well.
  • Pour some water over it, cover the wok and cook on a low flame until done. (About 10 minutes.)

♥….WHY DON’T YOU….♥

♥ Roll this up into a savoury crepe?

♥ Stir fry with some day-old rice for a quick meal in a bowl?

♥ Substitute the lentils with crushed peanuts?

Thanks and love to Prerna of What’s Cookin for her Liebster! More on that one real soon !