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 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.
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 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″]
- Nigerian Salad Recipe
- Make-ahead 7 layer salad
- Easy but delicious Salmon salad
- Kachumbari – Onions, Tomatoes, and Cucumber Salad
- Chimichurri Avocado Chicken Salad
- Quick and easy tomato salad
- Tomato Cucumber Salad
- Tomato mozzarella salad
To reduce the pungent flavor of the onion, You will need:
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 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.
- 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!
- 1 red onion medium size
- 3 tomatoes large size
- 1 cucumber large size
- 1 lemon
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed (or any green chili - optional)
- fresh cilantro or coriander leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dice the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and 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 or any other meal of your choice.
- I used jalapeno peppers for my kachumbari. It is important to remove the seeds before dicing. If you are not used to eating raw chilis or making this for children, please skip it or simply add a bit of chili powder.
- Take the time to finely chop your tomato, cucumber, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. You will be glad you did!
If you make this kachumbari recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook.#cheflolaskitchen