Liven up your curry or thali with this easy and fresh Indian kachumber salad, with juicy tomatoes, sweet onions, and cooling tangy lemon juice.
Ever had a Thali? A thali is best described as an Indian feast with many small dishes. A selection of different dishes, hot and cold, each made with care and go well together. Think chutneys, kachumber salad, poppadum’s, rice. The list is endless really.
Years ago around this time of year, one of the families (British-Indian) on our street held a family wedding reception in their backyard. It’s always great to see families getting together and celebrating, especially as in this case all the food was homemade. This meant for the entire week I had to ‘suffer’ by smelling all the amazing food being created in my neighbour’s kitchen. I swear, I could have eaten just by the aroma alone. It inspired me to start making my own curries at home, rather than getting a restaurant to make them for me.
But a good curry needs other stuff to go with it, think of a traditional Indian Thali. You can easily enhance your own homemade curry, and these days if I’m making a curry I’m quickly whipping up a few of these simple sides. I do love my cilantro mint chutney, but another even simpler side is kachumber salad (sometimes kachumbar). Essentially it is like an Indian salsa, some people call it an Indian cucumber salad despite the fact the cucumber is not always included, but they always have fresh tomatoes, shallots and some fresh lemon juice.
Serve it on the side of your curry, or scoop some up some curry in naan or roti, and put a little bit of kachumber salad on top. Its freshness and sharpness will cut through the curry easily. Delicious.
- Fresh tomatoes
- Lemon juice
- Cucumber (optional)
- Olive oil
- Chaat masala
Making Kachumber couldn’t be easier.
- Chop up the tomatoes into bitesize pieces, and finely chop the shallots and green
chili. An extra step would be to remove the seeds of the tomato, not necessary but is good for the consistency of the tomatoes. If you want a cooler salad, also remove the seeds from the green chili.
- If you want the cucumber, also add this in small bitesize chunks. Finely slice the cilantro and sprinkle in the chaat masala. Mix it all with the lemon juice and olive oil then let sit for at least 60min in the fridge to let the flavours come together.
- A good knife and chopping board
- A mixing bowl/serving bowl
Tips and Variations
Make kachumber raita
For a creamier alternative, mix a cup of the kachumber salad above to a cup of full-fat Greek yoghurt. It will be extra cooling, and go well with a rich curry!
Do I need cucumbers in kachumber
Traditional, yes, but no you don’t need them. I didn’t put them into the dish I made in the photograph. Partly because my kids love eating cucumbers on their own.
Can I take out the onions?
This recipe calls for shallots, which are a sweeter onion, but if you cannot have onions you can leave them out. If you do this, I would suggest making sure you put in the cucumber then to provide more texture.
How long in advance can I make kachumber?
You should make it at least 1 hour in advance, but it should last a day or so in the fridge. The lemon juice and acid from the tomatoes will help it last longer, but it won’t taste as fresh.
What if I don’t have Chaat masala?
You don’t need chaat masala, the kachumber will be fine without it, but it does add a nice element to it.
You might like these other recipes
- Bombay Frankie!
- Cilantro Mint Chutney
- Pistachio Lassi
- Homemade Naan Bread – from Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Butter Chicken – from Chili Pepper Madness
A traditional Indian Lassi would be great with a curry, I’ve got a pistachio lassi (to be posted soon) which is delicious.
Check out the music page for suggestions of good music playlists.
- 6 Medium tomatoes Plum or cherry
- 1 Green chili
- 15 grams Cilantro a small bunch
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 Cucumber optional
- 1/2 tsp Chaat masala optional
- Chop up the tomatoes and cucumber (if using) into bitesize pieces. Finely chop the shallots, cilantro and green chili. An extra step would be remove the seeds of the tomato, not necessary but is good for the consistency of the tomatoes. If you want a cooler salad, also remove the seeds from the green chili. Place into your bowl
- Sprinkle the chaat masala and salt over the salad. Mix it all together with the lemon juice and olive oil then let sit for at least 60min in the fridge to let the flavours come together.