Bawa Kachumbar (Onion Salad)


Have I mentioned that I love onions?

This wasn’t always the case. In fact as a child, dad always had to force me to have some of this ‘kachumbar salad’ as we bawas loosely term it (or we would have to face the fact that we rarely eat any veggies) with my sunday Dhansak lunch. It can be a bit of an acquired taste but once you  have acquired it, it’s like an addiction. Now, for me no meal (except Dhandar) is truly complete without some kachumbar.

And, it truly is a brilliant salad. Be it Dhansak, Masoor, Amti ni Dar or any type of curry, the Kachumbar just compliments the taste of the gravy and gives it the perfect zing to liven up your pallette. So, ofcourse it would be my luck that once I became a Bawi Bride onion was practically banned in my marital household. Why? Well the father-in-law is not a fan so the whole family basically never had any Kachumbar.

This all changed once I joined the family in November last year. I distinctly remember telling the Mr., “Don’t ask me to give up my Kachumbar. If I can move countries for you, the least I should get in return is permission to eat Kachumbar whenever I get the urge.”

It does mean that I am now the official Kachumbar lady, but it is a small price to pay.

To make enough for 3, you will need:
2 large Red Onions (sliced thinly lengthwise – I have a theory that chopped onion rather than sliced onion tastes different so humour me)
1 large tomato (chopped)
A handful of coriander finely chopped
A generous tsp of salt and Lemon slices as a garnish.

Once everything is chopped, I suggest you ditch the salad spoon and give all the ingredients a good mix with your hands so that all the yummy onion and salt essence is equally distributed.

*There are several different additions you can make in this kachubar so if you get tired of the same taste, try adding these:

  1. Chopped cucumber to cool-off the salad – works best with Dhansak
  2. Chopped beetroot to make the kachubar red – works best with Red Curry Rice
  3. Yoghurt  – this works best with Masoor
  4. Vinegar – I haven’t tried this honestly but my dad has and it adds that kick of sourness

For all my Bawi Brides, if you have a different version that gets made at your place or something interesting you remember your grannies adding to this Bawa favourite, do share!

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  1. Tanaz Wadia says

    Hi u can also add sliced semi raw mango with the cucumber minus the tomato … Gives it sweet tangy taste ….

  2. sunil noronha says

    love everything Bawa.
    Luv the way u can be honest abt ur food.
    the recipes r a treat….
    BTW am a novice,
    what is the difference between chop n slice vis the onion?

    • says

      Sunil – thanks for your lovely comment and am glad you are enjoying the recipes. To answer your question, chopping an onion like you know is making it really into small pieces while making thing slices is when you just cut the onion lengthwise once and don’t chop it any further. When I refer to the difference in taste, I don’t know if that is just in my head but to me Kachumbar tastes best when the onion is sliced rather than chopped (which you should only do if you are going to be cooking the onion).

  3. says

    I hear you @Perzen – I’ve been trying to convince people for years that chopped and sliced onions taste different – onions out of a food processor taste different to me as opposed to chopped ones!

  4. moumita says

    Roast masala papad , crush and spread it over the kachumbar. It gives the crunch. But need to add it just before eating it or it will become soggy.

  5. Azmin says

    Great work! Good recipes. My daddy Fuiji used to make khata papeta ma gosh. Do you have the recipe?

  6. Ray says

    I added some finely chopped red radish and Thai green chilies and I always use cucumber. But even with the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, I did not get that kick that I remember from back home, so I added some sugar and it almost did it. Next time I will add some red chili powder and some ground roasted cumin as well. 🙂

    • says

      wow you are certainly upping your Kachubar game! am going to try the idea with the reddish and chili. My mom likes adding baby beets too but I’m secretly sure that is to get me to have more veggies!

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