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Spicy Indian Cucumber Salad

4.91 from 64 community reviews

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This is one of my absolute favorite easy cucumber salads, full of spice and flavor that hits all the salty, sweet, sour, and spicy notes. You’ll be hooked on the first bite!

Chunks of crunchy cucumber salad with toasted chopped peanuts, red chili pepper and coconut.

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 crave-able. 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 nod toward Mediterranean flavors. They’re most often simple cucumber salads mixed with ripe tomatoes and feta cheese. This salad adds in some spice and coconut, turning the flavor profile to South Asia.

What’s a kachumber salad?

Kachumber (pronounced Kah-Chum-Bur) refers to cucumber salads 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.

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.

Photo of Brown mustard seeds in a wood bowl.

There’s the crunch of chopped roasted peanuts, the heat of chili pepper and nutty-tasting popped brown mustard seeds and cumin.

Best cucumbers for 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.

An image of a gray bowl with a serving of chopped cucumber salad topped with crushed peanuts and chili pepper, with a black metal pan in the background with sliced green  serrano chili pepper.

How to make Indian cucumber salad:

There are a few steps to follow for this salad, starting with the cucumber.

  1. Slicing the cucumber: The best way to slice cucumber is to cut them into chunky, bite-size pieces (so they don’t become too soggy) First halve them lengthwise. If you’re using anything other than a Persian cucumber, remove the seeds by running a spoon down the middle. Slice each half in half again, then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Put the cucumber in a serving bowl and toss with chili, peanuts and finely grated unsweetened coconut.
  3. Sprinkle with fresh lemon or lime juice, sugar and salt and toss gently
  4. Quickly fry brown mustard seeds, cumin seed and more of the coconut in a small skillet 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.

Chunks of crunchy cucumber salad with toasted chopped peanuts, red chili pepper and coconut.

Spicy, Crunchy Indian Cucumber Salad

Karen Tedesco
An easy crunchy cucumber salad recipe that's anything but ordinary! Chopped cucumbers are spiced-up with cumin, coconut, peanuts and fresh lime. It's lightly sweet, salty, sour and so good!
Print Pin
4.91 from 64 community reviews
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 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 crushed red pepper
  • 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
  • ½ teaspoons brown mustard seeds, optional
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or mint

Instructions 

  • Put the cucumber, chili pepper, red pepper flakes, ¼ 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.
Recipe adapted from How to Cook Indian.

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 725mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 512IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest
Recipe developer Karen Tedesco of the popular website Familystyle Food in her kitchen making a kale salad.

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.

4.91 from 64 votes (59 ratings without comment)

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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So good. All 4 of us enjoyed the recipe! No changes needed. Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! I don’t usually leave reviews but this recipe is delightful and like nothing I’ve ever eaten before! Thank you!

  3. Thank you for your recipe, we made it yesterday for lunch and it was so very delicious! The hot, sizzling brown mustard & cumin seeds & toasted coconut mixture really take it up to the next level of flavor. We decided to add a diced mango and diced avocado to make more of a meal out of it and the addition was fantastic!!! Will be serving this to guests in the future, for sure. It’s wonderful.

  4. Going to try today! Can I make ahead of time?

    1. Hi Tammy – I suggest mixing the salad one hour or less before serving so it doesn’t get too soggy. Hope you enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    This is a terrific recipe. Easy to make and delicious! Will definitely make it again.

  6. 5 stars
    being indian i am grown up with this salad , my most favourite.
    try our typical maharashtrian khamang kakdi recipe. you will love it.

  7. Christian says:

    5 stars
    Was very good. I used both mint and cilantro. Will make again.

  8. Abija Nambiar says:

    Luv the salad, thanks for sharing!

  9. Michellers says:

    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!

  10. This is a great recipe! I love Indian food and this looks like a nice mix of flavors. Easy to make, too. Thanks.

  11. 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!

  12. fardistanthowl says:

    Sigh. Yes Tony, you put the lime in the coconut and then you drink them both up. You know the routine. (lol, good one)

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. adding peanuts is a good idea….that book looks great too ! have fun cooking indian food 😀