If you go to an Indian restaurant, there’s a reasonable chance your food will be accompanied by a little chopped salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It’s a very simple, refreshing concoction that you can easily make for yourself. It can also add a sophisticated touch if you’re serving an Indian meal to guests.
Growing up, my mother would often (and still does) slice up some carrots, cucumbers, radishes and onions for us to pick at as needed with our meals. I still like to do this from time to time, but when I found myself cooking a big Indian meal for my cousin and his wife who were visiting from the Bay Area, I wanted to do something that involved just a little “fancier” without making my life too complicated.
So I turned to my copy of Anjum Anand’s Indian Vegetarian Feast, where she has a little blurb on how to make kachumber. I’ve used this book to prep kachumber before and the recipe is honestly pretty close to perfect. I tend to follow her recipe pretty closely, just tweaking the variety of tomatoes I use and omitting a couple of things. And yes, for those of you who follow this blog closely or know me pretty well, I do use my sworn enemy tomatoes when preparing kachumber for a group — it’s just that in this case, I tend to use grape tomatoes because they have a slightly firmer body and can easily be chopped up into smaller pieces without requiring a ton of chopping.
Kachumber often tends to be chopped up into teeny-tiny pieces, and as you can see, while I kept the components small, I didn’t make them minuscule either. That was a stylistic choice for me, but you’re welcome to mince the cucumber, etc. further if you’d like. If you want to keep the sizing the way I did, it will still be less than bite-sized and no trouble for anyone to eat.
Take a look at the simple process below:
- Serves 4 to 6
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- Approximately 1/3 of an English cucumber, sliced — then quartered
- 4 radishes
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of cilantro, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon of roasted ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Small green chili pepper, seeded and minced or just a pinch of red chili powder if you'd like some heat
- 1. Take your chopped cucumber, grape tomatoes, onion and radishes and mix them all together in a bowl.
- 2. Then add the extra virgin olive oil, juice from a lemon, roasted ground cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper to the mix. (You can also add the chili pepper or chili powder if you're using). Mix it all up.
- 3. Make any adjustments to the seasoning if necessary and serve!
- Adapted ever-so-slightly from Anjum Anand's Indian Vegetarian Feast.
Thematically, this song has nothing to do with kachumber (unless you feel really strongly about the ingredients in this chopped salad). But this oldie-but-goodie has some inherently “cool as a cucumber” qualities that are perfect for the end of summer. So put on some Beach Boys and start chopping up your kachumber!