Kachumber (Indian Cucumber Salad)

Kachumber salad recipe on a plate with a fork

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
35 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 78mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 27mg 2%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 341mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions are a salad combination that's found in many parts of the world—the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean all have their own variations. In India, the refreshing trio is known as kachumber. Kachumber resembles several staple salad dishes from cuisines, like kachumbari in the Great Lakes region of Africa or the famous Israeli salad.

What makes kachumber unique is its dressing, which doesn't contain any oil, but rather a very simple combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This quick and easy recipe brings to your table a simple and flavorful salad whose refreshing nature makes it a great side to any spicy food, curries, dal, rotis, burgers, sandwiches, or spicy curries. It also makes a fantastic summer salad and is a perfect vegan dish.

We recommend using English cucumbers, as they don't have seeds and have a great crunchy and firm texture. Equally delicious but lesser in flavor, Persian cucumbers work instead if you can't find English. If using regular cucumbers, peel and seed beforehand. As the red onion in this recipe can be very pungent, we suggest soaking it for 15 minutes prior to use so it will have less of a bite.

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Click Play to See This Flavorful Kachumber Come Together

"This salad is fresh, fat-free, and loaded with color and flavor. I did add the cumin, and it balanced the flavors nicely. It's an excellent side to serve with just about any main dish. It made four large servings. A great salad for a cookout or potluck." —Diana Rattray

Indian Cucumber Salad Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium red onion

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes

  • 1 large English cucumber

  • 1 large carrot

  • 4 medium radishes

  • 1 jalapeño pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for kachumber salad

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  2. Peel and finely dice the red onion.

    Finely diced red onion in a bowl on a wooden cutting board

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  3. Depending on their size, halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes.

    Sliced cherry tomatoes on a cutting board

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  4. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and dice. No need to peel or seed if using English or Persian cucumbers. For other types of cucumbers, do seed and peel.

    Slice cucumber

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  5. Peel the carrot and slice using a julienne peeler or a regular vegetable peeler.

    Carrots on a wooden cutting board sliced julienne style

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  6. If using, thinly slice the radishes with a sharp knife or mandoline.

    Thinly sliced radishes on a wooden cutting board

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  7. If using, seed and dice the jalapeño. To reduce the heat, remove the veins as well as the seeds before dicing.

    Sliced, seeded, and diced jalapeño on a wooden cutting board

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  8. Place all the cut vegetables into a large bowl and toss with the cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Season with the ground cumin, if using.

    Kachumber (Indian cucumber salad) tossed in a white bowl

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  9. Enjoy.

What Is a Burpless Cucumber?

Cucumbers contain a compound called cucurbitacin, which in nature prevents animals and pests from eating and preying on the fruits of the cucumber plant. This same compound causes humans to burp after eating cucumbers, but with many centuries of adaptation on our end to be able to digest these crunchy fruits, the burping, if any, should be mild. Luckily, many Asian and American burpless cucumbers have low or no cucurbitacin (Summer Dance, Garden Sweet, Armenian, or Burpless Beauty, to name a few).

Other members of the melon family (which cucumbers belong to) can also cause the same unwelcomed reaction in humans.

Tasty Additions and Substitutions

This salad has many variations. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Toss the vegetables with 3/4 cup of 2 percent Greek yogurt. The thick and creamier texture makes this variation ideal to use as a BBQ salad to tone down the spice and smokiness of meats. If you'd prefer a fattier version, use full-fat Greek yogurt. Taste for salt and pepper before serving.
  • Use vinegar instead of lemon juice. Apple cider or white vinegar are great substitutions.
  • Add 1/2 cup of freshly chopped mint alongside the cilantro.
  • Use garam masala instead of cumin.
  • Add spicy chile peppers or a dash of cayenne pepper. Using your favorite hot sauce instead can also be a great addition.

How to Store Cucumber Salad

If not using right away, skip the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cumin, if using. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for up to two days. Add the lemon juice and seasoning right before serving. If you have leftovers, keep overnight and use the next day.