tomato, cucumber and onion salad

Fresh and slightly acidic, this chopped tomato, cucumber and onion salad, or kachumber, is another common accompaniment to an Indian meal. I cannot recall this not being served at most of our family meals.

This simple version is a great way to restore the palate after eating something hot. It is also really good to cut through creamy dishes.

Kachumber is a Parsi recipe and the traditional accompaniment to dhansak. They probably inherited it from traditional Gujerati cuisine.

Every family have their own twist to this recipe –  kachumber is really just a salad of diced vegetables. You could substitute almost anything that was in season. You could, for example, add diced raw beetroot. Any vegetable you peel and can eat raw is a candidate. But do remember that it always, always has onion and tomato.

For a hotter taste, add one finely chopped green chilli, that has been deseeded and the membrane removed. Or leave the seeds and membrane if you want the heat.

Add a quarter teaspoon of cumin seeds for a nutty taste. Or sprinkle with chaat masala.  Substitute apple for the cucumber, or use both. Substitute lemon or lime juice for the vinegar for a quite different taste.  For an experienced palate, drizzle the finished salad with a tablespoon of mustard oil.

You could even go over the top and do all the above.

One thing I have seen done, and have done myself on rare occasion is to thinly slice the vegetables and not dice them. You then present the dish as a set of stacks of alternating onion, tomato and cucumber. Served this way the presentation is quite special.

The recipe below is the simple, every-day version.

the recipe

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to serve


  • Combine onion, jaggery, salt, vinegar and coriander stalks in a sealed bowl and briskly shake to separate onion layers and coat with vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Drain excess vinegar.
  • Add tomatoes and cucumber, stir gently, and refrigerate for one hour or until ready to serve.

to serve

  • Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve.

private notes

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Serving: 75 g | Calories: 36 kcal | Carbohydrates: 8 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 0 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 296 mg | Potassium: 296 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 590 IU | Vitamin C: 12.5 mg | Calcium: 24 mg | Iron: 0.4 mg

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