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An overhead photo of East African Kachumbari

Kachumbari - East African Salad

Make the best Kenyan (East African) Kachumbari! This tomato and onion salad is refreshing, delicious, easy to make, and the perfect side dish for your nyama choma, ugali, pilau rice, and more!
Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine East African, Kenyan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Resting Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 32kcal


  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Medium-sized mixing bowl 
  • a lemon press or a fork (to squeeze out lemon juice)
  • mixing spoon(s)


  • 3 medium-sized fresh tomatoes
  • ¾ bulb onion medium sized
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro (coriander)
  • ½ lemon (or more, for a tangier taste)
  • cups warm water
  • 1-2 bird-eye chili (optional)


  • Wash the tomatoes then dry them using a clean kitchen towel. Peel the onion then use a knife to finely slice or dice. Next, add the warm water and a teaspoon of salt to a bowl and add the sliced onion inside. Stir then set aside and allow this to soak for at least 5 minutes. This helps get the sting out of the onions.
  • Finely slice or dice the tomatoes, cilantro (coriander), and bird-eye chili. Squeeze out the juice from the lemon and set this aside in a cup. Add tomatoes, coriander (cilantro), and the bird-eye chili (optional) to a medium-sized bowl. Using a sieve, discard excess water together with any excess salt from the onions. Add the onion to the bowl with the rest of the vegetables, then combine.
  • Slowly add the lemon juice and keep tasting as you go. You can use more or less lemon juice as you prefer. Adjust for salt and let rest for at least 25 minutes. Serve your Kachumbari salad with grilled meat, vegetables, or your favorite side dish.



  • Finely cut the vegetables; the shape, (julienne or cubed), is not very important most important is that you slice or dice them as finely as you can.
  • Soak the diced or sliced onion in warm salted water. This is a very important step that you do not want to skip as it helps get the sting or bite out from the onion!
  • The resting time is important! The salad tastes much better when left to rest in the fridge a while so make sure to give it the time it needs.


Calories: 32kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.2g | Protein: 1.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 15.6mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 2.4g