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 veer 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 a 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.
Best cucumbers for cucumber salad
Persian cucumbers have become pretty much my favorite variety.
They seem to be more widely available in most grocery stores, and are great for snacking and all kinds of salad recipes.
Known as a type of “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.
Be warned, the combination of spicy, sweet, sour and salty makes this salad a slightly addictive little snack, in the best way!
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 finely chopped serrano or jalapeno chili pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup (73 g) roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- [1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut]
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, or a mixture of both
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee or neutral vegetable oil
- [1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds]
- 1/2 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.
- Mix the salad shortly before serving so it doesn't become watery.
- If you can't find brown mustard seeds, simply omit them.