Kachumba (Cucumber, Tomato and Onion side salad)

I often get asked what vegetables go along with a curry.  To be honest, curries aren’t usually eaten in isolation – you’re usually served a range of dishes that you put on your plate – some of which are meat based and some are vegetarian.  However, I know many people can’t, or can’t be bothered to cook multiple dishes, so this is a simple side salad that you can make.  It’s a refreshingly tangy salad that is very simple, but refined enough to be beautiful in its simplicity.  It’s also a great dish to use to practice knife skills.  There’s no actual cooking in this dish, just chemical cooking from the acid and salt – so a nice one to get the kids to help with, as long as they’re safe with knives.  This recipe makes about 2-3 cups of salad, which is suitable for 2 people.


IMG_15171/2 telegraph cucumber
3 medium tomatoes or about 8 small ones (like I have) or 15 cherry tomatoes
1/2 Spanish/Red onion
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (or juice from a whole lime)
Fresh coriander leaves/cilantro



Quick tip that my wife taught me – lay out some old newspaper and put all your scraps on the paper.  Makes clean up much easier as the paper and scraps can all go into the compost or organic recycling (if your city allows paper in organic recycling – make sure you check).

IMG_1524Start by finely mincing your onion.  I’ve got a post on how to mince onions – make sure you check it out to get a fine onion.  Too big and the dish will be too strong and almost inedible.

IMG_1526Rock your knife over the minced onion to get it finer.  Don’t use a blender for this step, as you don’t want onion paste – I do remember seeing one cooking show where the Indian chef grated his onion, which seemed a nice simple way to get a fine mince.

IMG_1530Quarter your tomatoes and remove the seeds.

IMG_1533Chop the tomato flesh into evenly sized pieces

IMG_1534Next, quarter your cucumber and de-seed it.  Don’t through away cucumber seeds – just eat it – sooooo tasty! But in the kachumber it can be a distraction from the refinement of the salad.

IMG_1535Like the tomato, chop into evenly sized pieces.

IMG_1538Combine your onions, tomatoes and cucumber together and squeeze over your lemon juice.

IMG_1540Finish with a generous grind of high quality salt and mix altogether.  Allow to sit for about 5 mins to let the acid and salt temper the onion flavour, but not too long or all the juice from the cucumber and tomatoes will be lost.

IMG_1543Dress with cilantro and serve alongside your favourite curry – it goes especially well with really rich, meaty curries, like Rogan Josh. Wait a second, have Indians just been making salsa and calling it Kachumber? At any rate, Enjoy!

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