Here’s a classic Kachumber Salad recipe you can make in 5 minutes with whatever crunchy vegetables you have on hand. This recipe shares fun variations, add-ins, and pairing suggestions!

Kachumber Salad in a white bowl with a white spoon.

Salads don’t exist in traditional Pakistani and North Indian cuisine. At least not in the way we know them here.

Yet growing up, something we called a salad (often pronounced sa-laad) would be present at many meals. This salad was really just a plate of sliced veggies, namely onions, cucumbers, and carrots.

Taken up a notch, said veggies would be diced up and and tossed with a snazzy ‘dressing’ of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Now you’ve got one of the only salads in South Asian cuisine with a proper name – Kachumber Salad. 

Holding some Kachumber Salad in a white spoon.

Kachumber Salad

The word “kachumber”, which we pronounce ka-choo-mer, means “mince”. So Kachumber salad is a mix of minced veggies. Though an ordinary salad in and of itself, it lends freshness, vibrance, and texture to otherwise warming and hearty South Asian fare.

Depending on the region, there are many variations of Kachumber salad, and there is no wrong way to make it.

Kachumber salad in a white bowl with a white spoon.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here are the somewhat essential ingredients. Feel free to alter proportions to taste.

Ingredients for Kachumber Salad
  • Tomato: Choose a flavorful, ripe tomato that’s firm enough so that it doesn’t disintegrate while you’re chopping.
    • Sub: Any tomato. Try cherry or grape tomatoes for a hint of sweetness.
  • Red Onion: I use red onions because they aren’t too sharp when raw.
    • Sub: Shallots or yellow onions.
  • Lemon or lime, depending on the taste you’re going for.
    • Sub: Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Start with 1 teaspoon since it can be slightly more acidic than lemon juice.
  • Cucumber: Use regular, English, or mini (Persian). Peeling the cucumber reduces any chance of bitterness. If your cucumber is mild, feel free to leave peel on if you enjoy the extra crunch.
  • Cilantro:
    • Sub: Mint leaves, which play well with Desi flavors.
  • Salt & Pepper: I prefer fine sea salt because it dissolves quicker than kosher. Reduce the black pepper if you’ll be adding any spicy elements such as a green chili pepper.
Kachumber salad in a white bowl.

How to Chop the Vegetables for Kachumber

I’m pretty lackadaisical about this but if you’re going for praise from aunties, try to dice the vegetables around the same size. There is no ‘right way’ to chop the veggies, but here’s how I do it (also shown in video):

  • Cucumbers: Once halved, I slice them lengthwise, then into long strips, then cube them.
  • Onions: Since my red onions are quite large, I just take a chunk and dice as shown in the video.
  • Tomatoes: Normally I do this by chopping the tomato lengthwise, then the whole thing widthwise. I’ll then roughly chop this mixture to get a smaller cut. For the video (i.e. for presentation), I’ve cut each piece into strips, then cubed. (Tip: If your knife isn’t particularly sharp, use a serrated knife to chop tomatoes.)

Place all the ingredients in a small serving bowl and toss to combine.

Variations and Add-ins

Here are some common or interesting variations and add-ins:

  • Add heat with 1/8 tsp red chili powder or cayenne, or a finely chopped, deseeded green chili pepper.
  • Make it seasonal with crunchy vegetables like a carrots (my favorite!) or radishes in the winter or corn or bell peppers in the summer.
  • For a sweet element, add pomegranate seeds, diced mango, or golden raisins.
  • To enhance texture and warmth, sprinkle roasted cumin powder, chili flakes, or other spices.
  • For a layer of deep flavor, add a minced garlic clove.
Close up of Kachumber Salad in a white bowl.

What to Serve this Kachumber Salad With

Although you could serve Kachumber with most main dishes, it goes exceptionally well with:

More “Salads” and Accompaniments

Partially eaten Kachumber Salad in a white bowl with a white spoon.

Tried this recipe? If you have a minute, please consider leaving a comment & star rating telling me how it was! If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I truly love hearing from you! Thank you!

Kachumber Salad in a white bowl with a white spoon.
5 (1 rating)

5-Minute Kachumber Salad (with Variations!)

Here's a classic Kachumber Salad recipe you can make in 5 minutes with whatever crunchy vegetables you have on hand. This recipe shares fun variations, add-ins, and pairing suggestions!

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium (~130 g) Roma or vine tomato, diced into ¼ inch cubes or smaller
  • 1/2 (~120 g) regular cucumber or 1/3 English cucumber or 1 mini (Persian) cucumber, peeled (see Note 1) and diced into ¼ inch cubes or smaller (roughly the same size as the tomato)
  • 1/4 medium (~60 g) red onion, diced into ~¼ inch cubes or smaller
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • ½-1 tbsp (~ ½ small) fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place all the ingredients in a small serving bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Serve immediately or allow the flavors to meld and juices to release before serving, about 10 minutes. Store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Video

Notes

Note 1: Peeling the cucumber reduces any chance of bitterness. If your cucumber is mild, feel free to leave peel on if you enjoy the extra crunch.
Note 2: I’m pretty lackadaisical about this but for presentation purposes, try to chop the vegetables around the same size.

Variations and Add-ins

Here are some common or interesting variations and add-ins:
  • Add heat with 1/8 tsp red chili powder or cayenne, or a finely chopped, deseeded green chili pepper.
  • Make it seasonal with crunchy vegetables like a carrots (my favorite!) or radishes in the winter or corn or bell peppers in the summer.
  • For a sweet element, add pomegranate seeds, diced mango, or golden raisins.
  • To enhance texture and warmth, sprinkle roasted cumin powder, chili flakes, or other spices.
  • For a layer of deep flavor, add a minced garlic clove.
See post for ingredient substitutions!
Calories: 11kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 0.5g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.02g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 147mg, Potassium: 103mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 171IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 0.2mg