This simple side salad goes supremely well with virtually any Indian dish you care to name.
Many, many variations exist around the central theme of cucumber, onion, tomato, herb, and acid.
There’s also a sub-debate about the inclusion of finely chopped fresh green chillies, too, not to mention potential controversy when you even hint at introducing other vegetables into the mix.
More often than not, recipes will make use of fresh coriander (cilantro). One time, though, we tried a recipe that used mint instead, and we have to say that we actually preferred it.
Similarly, yet another recipe we stumbled across added yellow bell peppers. We really liked that version also, and so our recipe retains both the “mint“, and “bell pepper” elements.
Seasoning can also be a bit of a minefield. Some prefer salt and pepper, others a pinch of ground cumin, or even black salt.
A few years ago we wondered what kachumber would taste like if seasoned with chaat masala, an Indian spice mix used extensively for salads. This is not something normally done, but we were curious as to how well it would work.
Again, we were impressed with the outcome, so decided to keep that in our recipe, too.
Finally, there’s the question of “finely chopped” vs. “finely sliced”. I personally prefer the salad with sliced ingredients, but if it floats your boat feel free to finely chop everything instead.
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 of a cucumber, halved, de-seeded, and very thinly sliced
- 2 plum tomatoes, de-seeded, and very thinly sliced
- ½ a yellow pepper, de-seeded, and very thinly sliced
- 1 tsp chaat masala, an Indian spice mix used to season salads
- fresh mint, about a handful, finely chopped
- lemon juice, about 1 tbsp
- Combine all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Allow to stand for about a quarter of an hour / 20 minutes or so.
- Add the lemon juice. Toss well. Serve.
You should be able to find chaat masala at your friendly neighbourhood Indian or Pakistani grocer. If you have trouble tracking it down, simply replace the chaat masala with salt, black pepper, and a pinch of ground cumin.