Spicy Indian Cucumber Salad
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This is our absolute favorite easy cucumber salad, full of spice and flavor that hits all the salty, sweet, sour and spicy notes. You’ll be hooked with the first bite!
Here’s a simple cucumber salad that’s beyond ordinary. Inspired by cool and refreshing Indian-style cucumber salads — or kachumber salads — this recipe is super-tasty and intensely craveable.
And (big plus), it takes about 10 minutes to make!
By combining just a few spices (chili, cumin and black mustard seeds) plus fresh citrus, peanuts and grated unsweetened coconut, this salad comes to life in a big way.
Our usual go-to salads with cucumber have flavors that nod toward the Mediterranean. They’re most often simple cucumber salads mixed with ripe tomatoes, onion and feta cheese.
This salad adds in some spice and coconut, turning the flavor profile to South Asia.
What is the meaning of kachumber?
Kachumber (pronounced Kah-Chum-Bur) refers to salads made with cucumber in Indian cuisine.They can contain ingredients like chili, tomato, onion and also spices like cumin.
This recipe gives you that dynamic range of flavor, and it’s east to make! Along with the naturally sweet coconut, you get a nice variety of texture.
There’s the crunch of chopped roasted peanuts, the heat of chili pepper and nutty-tasting popped brown mustard seeds and cumin.
That bold balance of salt, sugar and spice reminds me of fresh, healthy recipes with Southeast Asian zing.
If you’re a fan of bright, savory flavors I think you will be surprised at the simplicity of this salad, and how seriously delicious it is.
My Sweet and Spicy Banh Mi Noodle Bowl and Fresh Summer Roll Bowl are the recipes I often turn to when that specific craving hits.
Best cucumbers for cucumber salad
- Persian cucumbers: These mini cucumbers have become my favorite variety. They are becoming more widely available in most grocery stores, and are great for snacking and all kinds of salad recipes. Also called “burpless” cucumber, they’re small and practically seedless, with a delicate skin that doesn’t need peeling.
- English cucumbers, also called Hothouse or seedless cucumbers are also great for this salad.
Depending on the size of your cucumber, the seeds will be more or less developed. If you think they’re too seedy, they’re easily scooped out with a spoon.
How to make Indian cucumber salad:
There are a few steps to follow for this salad, starting with the cucumber.
- Slice the cucumber: The best way to slice cucumber for salad is to first halve them lengthwise. If using anything other than a Persian cucumber, remove the seeds by running a spoon along the middle of the cucumber. Then slice each half in half again, then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.
- Put the cucumber in a serving bowl and toss with chili, peanuts and finely grated unsweetened coconut.
- Sprinkle with fresh lemon or lime juice, sugar and salt and toss gently
- Quickly fry brown mustard seeds, cumin seed and more of the coconut in hot oil, then pour over the salad and toss.
Serve this salad all by itself, or make a more hearty meal with Perfect Coconut Rice and Coconut Lime Chicken Skewers.
Be warned, the combination of spicy, sweet, sour and salty makes this salad a slightly addictive little snack, in the best way!
FOLLOW ALONG: Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for all the latest recipes and content.
Spicy Indian Cucumber Salad with Peanuts and Coconut
- 5 Persian cucumbers or 1 large English seedless cucumber, sliced into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) finely chopped serrano or jalapeno chili pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup (73 g) roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- ¼ cup (25 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime or lemon juice, or a mixture of both
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil, ghee or neutral vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Chopped fresh cilantro or mint
- Put the cucumber, chili pepper, red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup of the peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Toss gently.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, stir in the cumin and remaining 2 tablespoons coconut. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the mustard seed mixture over the cucumbers and toss everything together (it will sizzle). Taste to make sure the salad has a good balance of salty-sweet-hot adding more salt, sugar, chili or citrus to taste.
- Serve in bowls sprinkled with the remaining peanuts and cilantro or mint.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Mix the salad shortly before serving so it doesn’t become watery.
- If you can’t find brown mustard seeds, simply omit them.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
Going to try today! Can I make ahead of time?
Hi Tammy – I suggest mixing the salad one hour or less before serving so it doesn’t get too soggy. Hope you enjoy!
This is a terrific recipe. Easy to make and delicious! Will definitely make it again.
being indian i am grown up with this salad , my most favourite.
try our typical maharashtrian khamang kakdi recipe. you will love it.
Was very good. I used both mint and cilantro. Will make again.
Luv the salad, thanks for sharing!
Looking for a quick cucumber recipe to complement a south-east asian dinner, found this recipe by complete accident and it is so DELICIOUS! Made it exactly as written except didn’t have cumin seeds (added a little ground cumin with the coconut). Really unbelievably good, thank you so much!
I love these flavors, such an addictively delicious salad!
This is a great recipe! I love Indian food and this looks like a nice mix of flavors. Easy to make, too. Thanks.
I love this! One of the things I love most about summer is fresh cucumbers from the farmer’s market – I eat millions of them! 🙂 So, I’ll have to bookmark this one for sure!
Sigh. Yes Tony, you put the lime in the coconut and then you drink them both up. You know the routine. (lol, good one)
Wow! I just love this! Spicy and cool at the same time- sounds like my fiancee!! 🙂 Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.
Looks delish, and I’m sure it is, but I’m unclear on the first step:
“Put the cucumber, chile pepper, peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice and sugar in a large bowl.”
Are you saying you put the lime in the coconut?
I always thought that was a different recipe…
LOVELY photos, as usual! I foresee myself eating this for lunch all summer long. YUM!
adding peanuts is a good idea….that book looks great too ! have fun cooking indian food 😀
I just got that book too and have barely opened it, but this looks great!