Kachumber is a very simple chopped salad typically made with tomatoes, onions, and cucumber, seasoned with lemon juice. It is a refreshing side dish, very flexible and I am sharing a gut-friendly version with an extra dose of probiotics.
Every January, there is a major interest in salad and smoothie recipes as everyone wants to get back on ‘track’ after the holidays. I am a full proponent of both salads and smoothies as they can be nourishing, delicious, and wonderful for our body but lately, I am not feeling much smoothies or salads. I didn’t grow up eating green leafy salads because vegetables in Nepali cuisine are generally cooked into stews, stir-fried, or sometimes steamed/boiled. Kachumber, a quick chopped salad made with onions, tomatoes, and cucumber made a regular appearance on our dinner table and it is still one of my favorites. The version I am sharing is a gut-friendly one with a rainbow of chopped vegetables & brine from sauerkraut but you can totally adapt the kachumber to your liking.
Kachumber is a salad found in many South Asian diaspora, the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean with their own variations. The idea is to create a simple & refreshing chopped salad with fresh evenly cut veggies, fresh herbs, and an acid such as lemon juice or lime juice. Unlike most salads in the West, it doesn’t have any leafy greens or dressing which makes it easy to adapt seasonally and use ingredients you have on hand.
For my Gut-Friendly Kachumber, I am using a rainbow of vegetables so I can get an different vitamins and minerals from cucumber, onion, carrot, and golden beets. For the seasoning, I am using roasted cumin powder as it aids in digestion and adds a nice flavor along with finely chopped chilies & cilantro.
To make this kachumber gut-friendly, I used the brine from sauerkraut instead of lemon juice and it worked really well. If you have lacto-fermented brine from sauerkraut, lacto-fermented vegetables, or lacto-fermented pickles, this is a great place to use them. Raw, uncooked vegetables can be difficult to digest because of it’s high fiber content. Sometimes people get bloated and gassy, which is why I suggest eating vegetables cooked, fermenting veggies, or eating raw veggies with probiotics when possible so it is digested and absorbed properly.
If you don’t have lacto-fermented brine on hand, don’t let that deter you from making kachumber. Just swap the lacto-fermented brine with lemon or lime juice and enjoy the delicious, crunchy kachumber. This is a kind of salad I know everyone will enjoy. It is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly and can be served as a side dish, on your rice or noodle bowl, or enjoy with chips/crackers.
Gut-Friendly Kachumber | Easy Chopped Salad
½ cup chopped onion, red or white
½ cup chopped cucumber, Persian cucumber preferred
½ cup chopped golden beets
½ cup chopped or shredded carrots
2-3 fresh chilies, finely chopped, optional
handful of chopped cilantro
1 heaping tablespoon roasted cumin powder
3-4 tablespoon lacto-fermented brine from sauerkraut or use freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine all the chopped vegetables then toss in chilies, cilantro
- Season liberally with roasted cumin powder, lacto-fermented brine, salt and pepper
- Mix everything and let it sit 10-15 minutes
- Serve it as a side dish
- Cover and refrigerate the leftover and use within 1-2 days
If you are interested to learn more about lacto-fermentation and/or make kimchi at home, do check out my self-paced video recording on Kimchi Making Class: Two Ways and lacto-fermented hot sauce.