Kachumbari is an east African salad eaten mainly in Kenya.
It is also popular in the neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, and Zanzibar.
This Kenyan salad consists of tomatoes and onions as the main components.
However, people add other ingredients like cucumber and avocado depending on preference.
Trust me when I say that kachumbari is the epitome of simplicity. It is so simple you can whip it up in no time.
Serve Kachumbari as a side dish or condiment for pilau rice and Kenyan grilled meat known as “nyama choma.”
This Kenyan salad is bathed in the fresh, tangy taste of lime juice and crowned with the ambrosial touch of coriander.
It’s so refreshing and perfect for hot summer days. It is healthy too so, indulge as much as you want.
The Origin of Kachumbari
The Swahili word “Kachumbari” originated from the Indian word “cachumber.” It simply means “tomato and onion salad.”
Kachumbari is popular in the East African region because East Africa is home to millions of Indians who migrated many years ago.
How to Make Kachumbari
To start off, I wash all the vegetables required for making kachumbari. I pat them dry with disposable kitchen towels before proceeding to the next step.
I then chop the onions finely, add them in a bowl of salted water and wash for about a minute. This process eliminates the pungent and bitter taste present in the onions. It also makes them milder and more flavorful.
After that, I chop all the other ingredients and place them in a large bowl.
Finally, I add the lime juice, olive oil and salt to taste and I am good to go.
I love using cherry tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. I find that cherry tomatoes have a more intense flavor. Therefore, if you have access to cherry tomatoes, try using those instead.
Also, adding avocado isn’t compulsory for this recipe. However, I suggest you add it. Avocado gives an irresistible creaminess that renders this Kenyan salad perfect.
Tips / Alternative ingredients for Kachumbari
For a less spicy kachumbari, deseed the pepper before chopping. But if you can handle the heat, go ahead and leave the seeds in.
Also, substitute lime for lemon if that is all you have. It’s not a big deal.
The original Kachumbari recipe only requires salt but add black pepper too if you prefer.
Kachumbari is heavenly and so damn easy to make! Make it for friends, make it for family or make it for yourself.
You deserve it!
Kachumbari (Kenyan Salad / Kenyan Salsa)
- 1 medium red onion
- 300 g red cherry tomatoes (or 2 to 3 large tomatoes)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 handful fresh coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small chili (optional)
for preparing the onion
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 200 ml water
- Add 1 tsp of sea salt in a bowl with 200 ml of water, mix till dissolved and set aside.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the onion. Place the onion in the bowl of salty water and massage for 30 seconds and then allow soak for about 5 minute. This process will help in the reduction of the pungent onion flavor.
- Drain the onions thoroughly and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Finely dice the tomatoes, the cilantro and avocado. Add them to the onions.
- Using plastic gloves deseed the chili and chop finely.
- Add the chili to the rest of the vegetables
- Finish by adding the ½ tsp salt (or salt to taste), olive oil and the lime juice.
- Mix well and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Serve kachumbari with pilau rice or any other dish of choice.
What do you think about this Kachumbari recipe? Have you tried it out? Meet me in the comment section below and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
If you loved this recipe, you might also be interested in my Broccoli Apple Salad.
19 thoughts on “Kachumbari Recipe (Kenyan Tomato and Onion Salad)”
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We paired this with pilau. It was very delicious
Glad you liked it, Paul. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
What a delicious and refreshing salad!!!
🙂 Yeah it’s refreshing indeed
I love all your recipes because they are so healthy and match my gymaholic lifestyle.
Thanks so much Charla. Glad you love the recipes. 🙂
This is a beautiful and bright salad. I just love the flavors!
Beautiful flavors and colors. Thanks Mila. 🙂
I love Kachumbari. I love the tip on soaking the onions.
I love it too 🙂 🙂
I’ve never heard of this but it looks and sounds so fresh and delicious!
You should try it Jazz. It is heavenly. 🙂
This salad looks so vibrant and good! The perfect summer dish!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Shanika.
So happy to have come across your blog. I’ll be looking forward to trying out the recipe as it looks straightforward. Thanks for sharing and have a great day ahead!
Hi Zinny. Nice meeting you, please do try them out and give me a feedback. I just paid you a visit on your blog and will be coming back. Best regards!