Kachumber Salad features an unbeatable summer mix of crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes and red onions. We have jazzed them up with citrusy cilantro, earthy cumin, curry leaves and a chilli garnish - a refreshing side for Indian curries or great at your next BBQ.
This easy salad originates from India, it is mainly served alongside curries and usually consists of fresh chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lemon juice, and sometimes, chilli peppers. Our version also includes some cilantro, toasted cumin seeds and aromatic curry leaves. We have also swapped the lemon juice for lime and added a chilli garnish.
Are Kachumber and Kachumbari the Same Salad?
Kachumber is an Indian salad that is usually served alongside a hot curry, and Kachumbari originates from Kenya and can be served as a condiment or as a side salad. While they are both very similar - they both contain tomatoes, onions and chilli Kachumber also includes cucumber. Variations to both can include the addition of cilantro (coriander), cumin seeds and chilli powder.
The Ingredients in Kachumber
- Tomatoes - we have used truss tomatoes for their firmness and for their wonderful aroma. You can really use any tomato that you have on hand, or you could even try some cherry tomatoes or a tomato medley.
- Cucumbers - as always I prefer small Lebanese or Persian cucumbers for their crunch and because they have no seeds. If you are going to use regular cucumbers, I suggest you peel their hard skins and removing their seeds before using so the taste of the salad is not diluted.
- Red onion - for some pungent aroma, spice and it’s wonderful crimson colour. Again feel free to use any onion that you have in your pantry.
- Coriander/cilantro - for its wonderful citrusy flavour if you are not a fan then feel free to use some fresh mint instead it would also work really well in this salad.
- Cumin Seeds - for their pleasant earthiness, make sure that you toast them first as this really deepens their flavour. You could also try coriander seeds, caraway seeds or Nigella seeds instead.
- Lime Juice - I just love the combination of lime, fresh coriander/cilantro and cumin seeds, but you can also use fresh lemon juice instead.
- Curry Leaves and Chilli - these are both optional extras so you can leave them out if you can’t find them or don’t like them. But, they really add something special to this salad.
You Will Need...
Where’s the oil?
Generally speaking, Kachumber salad does not usually include oil in order to make it as cooling and refreshing as possible. However, if you absolutely have to have oil in your salad, then I suggest a drizzle of either extra virgin olive oil or some avocado oil.
A Variation to Try
Make it an Indian style salsa instead and chop up all the vegetables into a small dice. Serve it with some raita and papadums as a starter for an Indian Banquet or as part of a starter plate for large gatherings.
3 Easy Steps to Make this Salad
1TOAST YOUR CUMIN SEEDS
Place your cumin seeds in a hot frypan and heat until they are golden and aromatic approximately 2-3 minutes. Once they are ready, immediately remove to a cold plate to stop the cooking process; otherwise, they may burn.
2CHOP UP YOUR VEGETABLES & HERBS
Wash all your vegetables and herbs then pat dry with a towel.
Remove the core and bottom from your tomatoes and the papery skin from your onion, then slice them into wedges.
Remove the top and bottoms from your cucumbers, then slice on the diagonal.
Roughly chop your coriander (cilantro) leaves and finely shred your curry leaves chiffonade style.
3ASSEMBLE YOUR SALAD
Add all your ingredients to a mixing bowl, season with some sea salt and cracked black pepper, pour over the lime juice. Mix well to combine, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Slice your chilli on the diagonal, discard the green top, then add on top of your salad as a garnish.
Keep chilled until ready to serve.
What is Chiffonade?
Just in case you are wondering, Chiffonade is a slicing technique where leafy green vegetables and herbs such as spinach, basil, etc. are cut into long, thin strips. To do this stack the leaves on top of each other, gently roll them into a cigar, and then use a sharp knife to slice them into thin ribbons.
Can I make this salad ahead?
This is a great salad to make 1-2 hours before serving as this will allow the flavours to meld together. But, make up the salad, season with salt and pepper, then when you are ready to serve drain off the excess liquid from the cucumbers and tomatoes then add the lime juice.
We served our Kachumber with Cauliflower Fritters and Raita. But it is ideal to serve with a spicy chickpea curry.
For the carnivores try it with some Spicy Indian Lamb Cutlets or a Beef Vinadaloo Curry.
- 3 medium tomatoes (approximately 480 grams)
- 2 medium Lebanese or Persian cucumbers (approximately 180 grams)
- ½ medium red onion (approximately 100 grams)
- ¼ cup coriander/cilantro, chopped (approximately 30 grams)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tsps cumin seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon curry leaves, chiffonade
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Place your cumin seeds in a hot frypan and heat until they are golden and aromatic approximately 2-3 minutes. Once they are ready, immediately remove to a cold plate.
- Wash all your vegetables and herbs then pat dry with a towel.
- Trim your vegetables, slice the tomatoes and onions I nto wedges and the the cucumbers on the diagonal.
- Roughly chop your coriander (cilantro) leaves and finely shred your curry leaves chiffonade style.
- Add all your ingredients to a mixing bowl, season and add the lime juice. Mix well to combine, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Slice your chilli on the diagonal, discard the green top, then add on top of your salad as a garnish.
- Keep chilled until ready to serve.
What a delicious and flavoursome salad - the perfect side dish to so many meals. I will definitely be enjoying this soon!
Thank you Alex, it is one that we make regularly in our house ?
A quick easy salad that pairs well with grilled meat and I can throw together in hurry? Yes please! We eat a Lot of tomatoes and cucumber in this house, the looks like a great way to mix things up 🙂
Hi Sarah, tomato/cucumber salads are my Dad's favourites though this version was a bit of a stretch for him. ?
What a delicious and fresh looking salad, would be so perfect for summer!
Absolutely, perfect for barbecues!
I have never heard of a kachumba salad, but I am already in love with it! What simple, yet beautiful flavours. As soon as the weather warms back on, this is first cab off the rank!
Thank you Jamie it is actually a great side for a hot curry. A
Gavin Sutherland says
I can picture this alongside some delicious grilled meat this weekend!! Love the curry leaves and toasted cumin in the salad. The aromatics must be SO good.
Yes, Gavin, the aromatics were sensational in this salad. Try it with harissa lamb cutlets, anything tandoori or chilli grilled chicken. A