Kachumber salad is a very common, chopped style, salad, loved in Pakistan. In fact, kachumber literally means, cut into small pieces. It is pronounced, ku-chum-ber. However, it is no ordinary salad. A spicy, hot and tart spice blend called, chaat masala, makes this one extra special.
The spice blend can vary, based on your favorite flavors. The tartness usually comes from amchoor (mango powder) and/or tamarind powder. The spiciness comes from chili powder. It also includes other aromatic flavors like: cumin, coriander and ginger. Black salt (which is a rock salt) is another important ingredient in chaat masala. You probably won’t find this salt in your local grocery store, but you can find it here, or perhaps at an Asian or Indian market (sometimes it is spelled chat masala). You can always try your hand at making your own signature spice blend as well. It is delicious on fruit and eggs too!
In Pakistan, salads are served along with the main meal and not as a separate course. Kachumber salad is usually made with tomatoes, cucumber and onion and any variety of fresh herbs. You can use any vegetables you have on hand. I have had kachumber salad made with carrots, radishes and cabbage. You just want to chop up the vegetables in small equal sizes, for a proper kachumber salad.
The other nice thing about this salad is, it is only dressed with lemon juice, so it is super healthy.
We served our kachumber salad along with the main dish called, chicken karahi and fresh naan bread. The naan bread makes the perfect implement to scoop up the fresh and crisp kachumber salad. To enjoy a kachumber salad, as you would in Pakistan, make certain to only use your right hand to eat your food. Utensils are not typically used. (The left hand is considered to be unclean.) If you are invited into a Pakistani’s home, remove your shoes before entering the home. You will likely sit on a dastarkhan (cloth or rug covering) on the floor. Make certain not to point your feet toward anyone, as that is considered rude.
If you would like to learn more about Pakistan, be sure to read, “Our Journey to Pakistan”
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- 1 cucumber peeled and chopped
- 2 tomatoes medium size chopped
- 1 red onion small size chopped
- 6 mint leaves chopped
- 1/4 cup cilanto chopped
- 1/2 lemon juice of
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- Put all the vegetables in a bowl along with the fresh herbs and toss gently all together.
- Squeeze or pour the juice of one lemon over the chopped salad
- Sprinkle over the chaat masala and mix well.