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Kachumber Salad

Kachumber Salad is a crunchy chopped salad that’s bursting with flavor from fresh herbs and ground spices. It is a chopped Indian salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and green chili. It’s seasoned with fresh cilantro (coriander leaves), ground spices, and a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice.

low angle shot of a white bowl filled with kachumber salad.

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You’ll find Kachumber Salad at many Indian restaurants. It makes a great side for dishes from Indian curries like Palak Paneer or Chicken Korma to Tandoori Chicken or Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani.

Kachumber Salad is a simple chopped salad recipes that is often just what you need to round out a meal. It’s an integral part of the typical Indian diet.

Serve it along side crispy Chicken Pakora, along with Cucumber Raita and Cilantro Mint Chutney for dipping.

This Indian cucumber salad a fresh counterpart to a rich Indian curry like Palak Paneer or Instant Pot Chicken Korma. It adds an enticing crunch to an Indian meal, from Indian Spiced Lentil Soup or Dal to Chicken 65. It makes even everyday meals special.

Overhead shot of a white bowl filled with kachumber salad.

The base of this Kachumber Salad recipe is chopped fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion. The seasonings include salt, pepper, ground chili powder, ground cumin, chaat masala, and fresh lemon or lime juice. It is vegan, oil free, gluten free, and dairy free.

With its freshness, bright flavor, and spice, Kachumber Salad can even stand in for salsa like pico de gallo. Serve it with crunchy fried poppadum or wedges of Butter Garlic Naan or paratha for dipping.

Overhead shot of the ingredients you need to make the recipe.

Ingredients you need

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

Kachumber Salad uses just a few raw vegetables and fresh herbs plus a handful of dried spices. Here’s what you need to make this classic Indian salad:

  • Tomato: You can use just one large, flavorful tomato, like a beefsteak, or use halved or quartered cherry tomatoes.
  • Chopped cucumber: I think the small Persian cucumbers work best for this salad. You can also use English cucumbers, removing the seeds if there are a lot of them.
  • Chopped onions: Red onion adds color, crunch, and flavor to the salad. If you prefer milder onions, soak the chopped onion in cold water for 10 minutes, drain, and add to the salad.
  • Green chilli: You can use any hot green chili you like. I use jalapeno or serrano peppers. If you want a less spicy salad, remove and discard the seeds and ribs from the green chillies. If you don’t want any green chili spice at all, substitute green bell peppers for the hot green chilies.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh cilantro (also called coriander leaves) plays perfectly with the spices and lemon. You can add or substitute other herbs, too, like freshly chopped mint leaves, parsley, or basil.
  • Spices: Ground cumin and chaat masala give this salad distinctive flavor. Using roasted cumin powder is even better. To make roasted cumin powder, roast whole seeds in a skillet until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. Kosher salt and black pepper are musts here, too.
  • Red chilli powder: The classic red chilli powder for this Indian salad is Kashmiri chili powder. You can add more or less ground red chili, depending on your personal preference. If you don’t have Kashmiri chile powder, you can substitute cayenne pepper or another hot red chilli powder.
  • Citrus juice: Lemon juice or lime juice squeezed over the salad brings this Kachumber Salad together.

What is chaat masala?

Chaat masala is an Indian spice mixture for seasoning a wide range of dishes. It is a bit tart, a bit spicy, and full of delicious flavor. It usually contains cumin, coriander, black salt (aka kala namak), amchoor (dry mango powder), asafetida, and red chili powder. I love adding it to my Kachumber Salad for a little extra kick.

low angle shot of a white bowl filled with kachumber salad.

How to make it

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

It really couldn’t be easier to make Kachumber Salad. Simply mix the ingredients together—the raw veggies, cilantro, chilies, and spices—in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice or lime juice over the top and toss the salad one more time.

You can serve immediately or let the salad stand for 20 to 30 minutes. This gives the flavors a chance to meld. This great salad is the perfect addition to just about any Indian meal.

Variations on kachumber salad

This Kachumber recipe is only a starting point. It is an endlessly variable Indian salad. It always starts as a basic chopped cucumber tomato salad. You can switch it up by adding different ingredients to the salad.

You can make Kachumber Salad any way you like! Try any of the following for your own twist on this classic Indian salad recipe:

  • Fresh mint leaves in addition to or instead of cilantro or coriander leaves
  • Any chopped veggies you like, including shredded cabbage, finely chopped bell peppers, or thinly sliced celery
  • Roasted peanuts or seeds like hemp seeds or sunflower seeds
  • Pomegranate seeds
low angle shot of a white bowl filled with kachumber salad.

How to serve it

I love to serve this Kachamber Salad alongside other Indian dishes: Palak Paneer (or Instant Pot Palak Paneer), Instant Pot Chicken Biryani, Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani, Tandoori Chicken, and Instant Pot Chicken Korma.

Or serve this Indian salad as part of an appetizer spread. It’s perfect with Butter Garlic Naan, Chicken Pakoras, Paneer Pakoras, Cilantro Mint Chutney, and Cucumber Raita.

Kachumber Salad can even serve as sort of an Indian pico de gallo. Offer it along with crunchy poppadums for dipping.

Yield: Serves 4

Kachumber Salad

low angle shot of a white bowl filled with kachumber salad.

Kachumber Salad is a colorful salad of chopped raw veggies—chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and chile peppers. It’s seasoned with fresh cilantro or coriander leaves, ground spices, and a squeeze of lemon juice or lime juice and makes a great side for Indian dishes from veggie curries to biryani.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups diced tomato
  • 1 ½ cups diced cucumber
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 green chillies (such as jalapeno or serrano), finely chopped (remove seeds and ribs from the green chili if you want it less spicy)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chaat masala
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • Lemon juice or lime juice from 1/2 of a lemon or lime

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the vegetables (the tomato, cucumber, onion, and green chilli), cilantro, salt, cumin, chaat masala, black pepper powder, red chili powder, and fresh lemon juice or lime juice. Toss to mix well.
  2. Serve immediately or let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, if desired, to let the flavors meld.

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Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 35Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 90mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 1g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on July 2nd, 2022

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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