Gajjara Kosambari (Carrot Salad) Recipe (2024)

By Tejal Rao

Gajjara Kosambari (Carrot Salad) Recipe (1)

Total Time
5 minutes, plus soaking (optional)
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There are countless variations of this style of salad from Karnataka, but my favorite is a simple version made with crunchy raw carrots, dressed with a little tempered fat, coconut, citrus and chopped herbs. If fresh coconut isn’t available, keep a bag of frozen grated coconut in the freezer. It’s easy to find at most Indian grocery stores and, when you have it on hand, you can bring this salad together in less than five minutes.

Featured in: Tejal Rao’s 10 Essential Indian Recipes

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Yield:2 cups

  • 1tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
  • 1green finger chile (or serrano chile), halved lengthwise
  • ½teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • ¼teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • ¼cup moong dal (split green gram), soaked for 1 hour, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 3large carrots, peeled and roughly grated
  • 2tablespoons fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • Handful of cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • ½teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½lemon, for squeezing

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (2 servings)

140 calories; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 322 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Gajjara Kosambari (Carrot Salad) Recipe (2)


  1. In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the chile, cumin, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and moong dal, if using, and sauté for 1 minute.

  2. Step


    Scrape out into a large bowl. Add the carrots, coconut, cilantro, salt and sugar. When ready to serve, squeeze lemon on top and mix to combine.



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Cooking Notes


See step two.


Can I use desiccated coconut, and if so how to prepare (e.g., soak in water for a bit)?


This was delightfully toothsome! I followed Ilyssa's lead and used coconut oil. Like Bob, I had only dessicated (unsweetened) coconut, which I put in the oil to plump up a wee bit after toasting the sesame and mustard seeds. Ground cumin worked just fine. I was out of chiles so used red pepper flakes for a touch of heat, and doubled the fresh lemon juice to a whole lemon. Not having dal, I toasted 1/4 cup of pistachios, and tossed them in the oil--a fantastic substitute. A new favourite.


I didn’t have dal so left it out. I used powdered chili and cumin, and a little Dijon mustard. So maybe it wasn’t authentic, but the best carrot salad I’ve ever had.

Chelsea Hodge

This is elevated from "meh" to AWESOME when you multiply the spices and coconut x4. Yum!


3 large carrots = 1/2 lb (approx)


Followed Chelsea’s recommendation to quadruple the spices and coconut, and it did not disappoint! We also doubled the lemon. Delicious!


Add a fresh lemon to the ingredient list. I’d guess juice from 1/2 a lemon.

Snake Mackerel

I’ve made this with and without the dal. In lieu of dal, I’ve used sunflower seeds or chopped pistachios. I used used unsweetened, large flake, dried coconut, sometimes called coconut chips. Spectacular every time!


First time I made this I left out the dal because I didn't have it and it was still quite tasty. However, this time, I was surprised to discover I did in fact have all the ingredients (after a year of impulsively buying obscure ingredients online in an attempt to liven up home-cooked meals). It's SO deliciously toothesome. Definitely recommend seeking out moong dal. I got mine from

Leslie J

Not going to rate this, but used the chile and seed saute to season braised baby carrots. Added a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sugar, and sprinkled with salt and pepper - it was delicious!


This reminded me of a wonderful carrot salad recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s _World Vegetarian_ cookbook. I combined the two - the spices from here plus the shredded ginger from WV, using the cooking directions from WV. I like the additions and will make again.


During quarantine, short ingredients, no dal and no fresh coconut .We used regular dried coconut and had a jalapeño. I minced that , it is a really interesting carrot dish, will make it X 2 or three for future potlucks, when the country gets back to potlucks. It is really quite nice, will make it again. Thank you.


no, you didn't do anything wrong - they're meant to add a nuttiness and crunchy texture to the dish.


My mom classically grated it all by hand.


Double everything but the carrots.


Delicious! --> Make a big batch - it keeps well and tastes even better the next days. Thanks to the helpful comments: I quadrupled the cumin, mustard, and sesame. I omitted the moong dal and substituted chopped cashews. I used toasted unsweetened coconut because it's what I had.I used ground kashmiri chili in place of the fresh chile. So good - and easy!


Added garlic/ginger/curry leaves. Cooked split moong dal in microwave for speed. Did not fry the dal. Very tasty.

A cook

This recipe is simply fantastic - one of the best things I've made lately. And it's so easy and quick, as well. I had dessicated coconut flakes, which were readily available in a generic market. I put the coconut flakes in the oil mixture after it had cooled a bit. One thing -- why don't recipes give the weights of items like carrots, rather than requiring their readers to guess how many ounces a certain size designation is?


I made this to go with Sarah Copeland's tofu makhani recipe (also on NYT cooking, highly recommend) and I honestly have to include this to go with any Indian dish I make in the future. I didn't have a box grater so I used a food processor on low speed to cut up the carrots.


This is delicious, kids loved it. Made a double batch to eat throughout the week. I used coconut oil, a bit more than indicated to make more of a dressing. And since I did not have whole cumin I sprinkled some ground before mixing. Will make again.


I used urad dal thinking, “how different can it be?” I even sautéed it for a couple minutes instead of one. It it very crunchy, approaching gravel-like. I wish I’d just used cashews.


I made a variation with fresh ginger added to the tempering, no sugar (carrots are sweet enough IMO) and mixing coarsely crushed peanuts in the end. The peanuts add to the crunch and can be a stand in if you have no way of getting hold of grated coconut.

Snake Mackerel

I’ve made this with and without the dal. In lieu of dal, I’ve used sunflower seeds or chopped pistachios. I used used unsweetened, large flake, dried coconut, sometimes called coconut chips. Spectacular every time!


If you don't have an hour to soak mung beans - cover with water in small saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and soak for 5 mins. Works out great.

Jay Naik

Add fresh pomegranate seeds and grated ginger. And of course, Cilantro as in recipe; lots of it - to enhance what’s already a delicious salad.


I can't call what I made Gajjara Kosambari since I didn't have the dal and used dried grated coconut, but it was very satisfying and one of the best carrot salads I've made. I will definitely increase the mustard, sesame and cumin seeds next time. The heat was just right but I wanted more spice.


I held off on making this until I could get the coconut and moong dal from my Indian grocery. Having made it exactly according to specs now, I have to say I think the dal is essential. Also, side note, the proprietor of the Indian grocery took me outside and showed me the easiest way to break open a coconut. I smiled about it to myself the rest of the day!


This is now my favorite application of carrots. Ate the whole bowl for a truly amazing lunch. I used unsweetened dried coconut chips and they were delightful :)


My large carrots were obviously larger than those called for in the recipe, because I got more than 8 cups of salad. Probably because of the disproportion between carrots and seasoning, this was underwhelming in terms of flavor. But I am going to mix the leftovers with plain yogurt tomorrow, and I think it will be absolutely lovely. (Maybe I'll add a little sesame oil, and more lemon or a dribble of tamarind.)

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Gajjara Kosambari (Carrot Salad) Recipe (2024)
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