Skip to Content

Kachumbari – Onions, tomatoes, and cucumber salad

Kachumbari is a simple, light, and easy-to-make east African salad made with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, salt, pepper, and lemon dressing –  a fresh, tart salad with a little kick to it. You simply can’t go wrong here; a ton of flavor for such a simple recipe.

Kachumbari - East African tart salad with beef pilau

kachumbari

 Kachumbari is a Swahili word that has its origin from the Indian word ”cachumber” which literally means cut into small pieces.

 It is an uncooked side dish consisting of chopped tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers, which is kind of the pico de gallo version of African food. Kachumbari is often served as a side with hot, spicy or aromatic meals like East African Pilau, Mukimo or Nyama Choma (roasted meat).

The key ingredients to this recipe are chopped up onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers combined with salt, pepper, and lemon dressing. However, you can find variations to this recipe in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and in Southern African countries of Malawi and Congo. In this case you find the use of additional ingredients like avocado and some other spices as well.

This slight diversity of flavors is mainly due to the use of locally available spices, herbs, and vegetables.

Ingredients for making Kachumbari

How to make kachumbari

kachumbari is so easy to make. All you need is Ripe red tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime, and salt and black pepper. That’s it!

  • All you have to do is to chop up all the vegetables.
  • Mix the vegetables with salt and lemon juice in a bowl.
  • Toss gently to combine.

This is best served immediately, however, if you are not using immediately, cover with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator till ready to use for up to 3 days

Just before you serve, add the salt. If you put the salt in too early, it will extract the juice from the vegetables and make the kachumbari runny.

Kachumbari Salad made with Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Onions

kachumbari is very versatile 

  • In East Africa, it is often served as a cooling and refreshing salad to spicy or aromatic meals like the east African rice pilau
  • It can be used as a topping for burgers 
  • A dip for chips
  • or just eat ”as is” for a low-calorie meal

[su_box title=”You might also want to check out these other delicious salad recipes:” box_color=”#273B56″]

[/su_box]

To reduce the pungent flavor of the onion, You will need: 

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Instructions:

  • Dissolve the salt in water completely in water. 
  • Add the diced onions inside the salted water and massage the onions for a few seconds; then, leave to soak for about 5 minutes.
  • Drain the water and set aside until ready to use.

This step is totally optional. If you are okay with the pungency of the onions, feel free to skip it.

Notes:

  • I chose not to peel my cucumber in this recipe. If you don’t feel comfortable with the skin, you can peel them. 
  • I used jalapeno peppers for my kachumbari, if you are not used to eating raw chilis or if making this for children, please skip it or simply add a bit of chili powder.
  • To reduce the heat of the jalapeno pepper, it is important to remove the veins as well as the seeds before dicing.
  • Use ripe red tomatoes. I love Roma tomatoes since they are less watery. However, I also like to use cherry tomatoes when they are in season.
  • Take the time to chop your tomato, cucumber, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro finely. You will be glad you did! 
Kachumbari Salad made with Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Onions

Kachumbari

Kachumbari is a simple, light, and easy-to-make east African salad made with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, salt, pepper, and lemon dressing – a fresh, tart salad with a little kick to it. You simply can’t go wrong here; a ton of flavor for such a simple recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: African
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 2 People
Calories: 91kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Red onion medium size
  • 3 Tomatoes large
  • 1 Cucumber large
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Jalapeno or any green chili - optional
  • Fresh cilantro or coriander leaves for garnish

Instructions

  • Dice the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and the green chili (if using).
  • Add all the veggies into a bowl, add the cilantro squeeze in the lemon juice, and season with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve with rice pilau or any other meal of your choice. Enjoy!

Notes

  • I chose not to peel my cucumber in this recipe. If you don’t feel comfortable with the skin, you can peel them.
  • I used jalapeno peppers for my kachumbari, if you are not used to eating raw chilis or if making this for children, please skip it or simply add a bit of chili powder.
  • To reduce the heat of the jalapeno pepper, it is important to remove the veins as well as the seeds before dicing.
  • Use ripe red tomatoes. I love Roma tomatoes since they are less watery. However, I also like to use cherry tomatoes when they are in season.
  • Take the time to chop your tomato, cucumber, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro finely. You will be glad you did!

Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 796mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1720IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1mg

You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you 🙂

If you make this kachumbari recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook.#cheflolaskitchen

Previous
15 Christmas recipes and ideas to try this season
Crispy Oven baked yuca fries
Next
Oven-baked Yuca Fries - Cassava Fries
Recipe Rating




Quick and Easy Tomato Salad – BareKichen

Friday 31st of January 2020

[…] Tomato Onion Salad reminds me of Kachumbari – a simple, light, and easy-to-make east African salad made with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, […]

shares