Kobichi Koshimbir refers to a delicious cabbage salad from the state of Maharashtra. Juicy and fresh and full of flavours, this salad is an absolute delight. It has been one of the most requested recipes on my Instagram page lately.
I have been sharing pictures of my daily home-made meals on my Instagram stories, in an endeavour to keep myself motivated to eat clean. I am thrilled with the attention they have been receiving, readers writing in to say how much the simple dishes cooked with seasonal ingredients have inspired them. It has been a pleasure to see more people cooking healthier meals, getting fitter in a little way. After I shared a snippet about Kobichi Koshimbir a few days ago on Instagram, many asked for the recipe – so here I am! Scroll down for the detailed proceedure.
Kobichi Koshimbir – ingredients and a little backstory
Kobichi Koshimbir, like I mentioned above, is a cabbage salad from Maharashtra. Fresh cabbage is chopped up, mixed with finely chopped coriander and green chillies, salt, a dash of sugar, coarsely crushed roasted peanuts and lemon juice. The peanuts provide the crunch factor to this mildly spiced and lemony salad.
I follow the recipe taught to me by Richa Chitgopekar, a passionate and talented cook and regional food enthusiast. Richa says, and I agree, “Use tender winter cabbage for this salad. The type that is green on the outside.” Mature cabbage just doesn’t cut it.
Some families add a bit of grated coconut to this salad, too, as well as mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves tempered in a little oil. I usually don’t, as I prefer to keep it oil-free.
Now that I have prepared the Kobichi Koshimbir a few times, vague memories of my grandmother making it at home are starting to come back. My paternal grandmother, N Paati, was a Marathi food lover, and would cook several dishes from the cuisine. She was my first point of introduction to the brilliant repertoire of dishes that Marathi cuisine has to offer. Shevgyacha Shengachi Amti, Aambe Dal, Tendli Masale Bhaat and Dadpe Pohe are some other Maharashtrian recipes on the blog.
Kobichi Koshimbir isn’t very different from Thai salad, come to think of it. The ingredients used are almost the same, and so is the flavour profile. Well, whatever the origin, I can definitely vouch for the fact that this is one lip-smackingly delish thing!
How to make Kobichi Koshimbir
Here is how to put the salad together, a process that takes well under 20 minutes. I have reproduced Richa’s recipe here, with her permission.
Ingredients (serves 1-2):
1. 2 cups fresh cabbage, chopped medium fine
2. 2 tablespoons peanuts
3. 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
4. Salt to taste
5. 1 green chilli or to taste
6. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
7. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
1. We will start by roasting the peanuts. Dry roast the peanuts in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till they start getting dark spots. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.
2. In the meantime, take the chopped cabbage in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and sugar to taste. Rub nicely with your hands for a couple of minutes, so the salt and sugar get well incorporated into the cabbage.
3. When the roasted peanuts have fully cooled down, transfer them to a small mixer jar. Coarsely pulse them and add to the mixing bowl.
4. Chop the green chilli very finely and add to the mixing bowl. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.
5. Add in the lemon juice.
6. Mix everything well together. Your Kobichi Koshimbir is ready. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes for all the flavours to meld together, then serve immediately. This salad can be had on its own, but it also makes for a lovely accompaniment to rotis. It can also be served as part of a full-fledged Maharashtrian thali meal.
Is this salad vegan and gluten-free?
This Kobichi Koshimbir is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free as well.
Tips & Tricks
1. For best results, use cabbage that is tender and fresh. Mature cabbage does not taste the same.
2. I prefer chopping the cabbage finely. You can even chop it into long slivers if you so prefer.
3. Make sure the peanuts are well roasted before adding them to the salad. Take care to ensure that they do not burn while roasting.
4. The roasted peanuts should be crushed coarsely and not ground to a fine powder – use the ‘Pulse’ feature on your mixer to do this.
5. Adjust the quantity of salt, sugar, green chillies and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.
6. Make sure the green chilli is chopped really fine, so you don’t get big bites of it while eating the salad.
7. I have used regular refined sugar here. It gets well integrated into the cabbage when you rub it with your hands. You may use powdered sugar if you so prefer.
8. You can add a tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves to the salad if you want to. I didn’t, because I wanted to keep it oil-free. Avoid the asafoetida in case you want to keep the salad gluten-free – this is because most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent.
9. Some families add about a tablespoon of fresh grated coconut to the salad too. I have skipped this.
10. Do not let the Kobichi Koshimbir sit around for too long after making it. This causes the salad to become watery. It is best served after about 10 minutes of making it.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!