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Tomato Onion Koshimbir (Salad)

I’ve noticed that generally people fall into one of two categories when they’re eating something they really enjoy. Either they savor it by eating it a crumb at a time to make the experience last for as long as they can or they gobble it down as quickly as they can because they just can’t resist it. I normally fall into the category of the person who tries to prolong the experience. If I have multiple things to eat, the one that is last on my plate is the one that I treasure the most. It’s the one that I want lingering in my mouth minutes after I walk away from the table. It’s the one that I appreciate like a wine connoisseur – rolling it on my tongue so that I can enjoy it’s full impact.

My behavior changes completely when it comes to the Tomato Onion Koshimbir. When I’m eating this dish, it really is like a mad dash to get it down my throat as quickly as I can. I’m not sure if it’s the amazing combination of juicy tomatoes and spicy onions or if it’s just that everyone in my family loves it, so the only way to get seconds is by eating it as quickly as I possibly can. 🙂

Koshimbir is a side salad that is very popular in the state of Maharashtra in India. It’s served along with vegetables and curries. Koshimbir is generally made with some combination of raw vegetables – tomatoes, onions, carrot, cucumbers etc. Sometimes it even has yogurt in it. This tomato onion koshimbir is by far one of my favorite koshimbirs. I’ve typically eaten it as a part of a meal as opposed to having a salad course which is common of salads in America.

I think if you’re a fan of tomatoes or onions there is no way you won’t love this side salad. At first you may think that it’s unnecessary to add more flavor to an Indian meal which is probably already quite flavorful. But honestly, the taste of raw onions and veggies adds a wonderful refreshing taste to most Indian dishes.


Tomato Onion Koshimbir

Makes: 6 servings
Ready in: 15 minutes


  • 1 1/2 yellow onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 4 curry leaves (kaadi paata)
  • 1 jalapeno (or 1 thai chilli)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • handful of cilantro (about 1 tablespoon chopped)


1. Dice the onions.

2. Dice the tomatoes. Try to cut the onion and tomato to the same size.

3. Trim and chop up the jalapeno. Make them big so you can pick them out instead of eating it later.

4. Chop up a handful of cilantro.

5. Over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a couple of cumin seeds into the oil. If they sizzle, the oil is hot enough. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds. Allow them to pop for about 30 seconds.

6. Add the curry leaves (kaadi paata) and jalapeno. Stir and allow to fry for about a minute. This whole mixture is known as “chaunk” or “tadka”

7. Put the onions, tomatoes, chaunk and salt in a medium serving bowl.

8. Mix and top with cilantro. Serve as a tasty side dish.

I’ve submitted this recipe at this month’s Create a Gluten-Free Salad Challenge, the monthly gluten-free challenge hosted by Gluten Free Homemaker.

This recipe is shared at: Seasonal Sunday, Gluten Free Wednesday’s

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10 Responses to Tomato Onion Koshimbir (Salad)

  1. Zoe says:

    This sounds amazing! I’ve never heard of this particular dish, though I might have come across it in the India cookbook, if it’s included, but I don’t remember! Anyway. I’d love to try this and I love that it’s so simple as well. One question: what would happen if the chile pepper was left out, would it still have some heat or not really? I like spicy food and don’t mind heat (I once used 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, not realizing; I was a kid and it’s a story that I blogged about) but I’m thinking primarily of others’ preferences.

    • Raj says:

      Oddly enough I haven’t seen this included in Indian cookbooks.. I’m not sure why – perhaps too simple? 🙂

      I’ve had it without the chili pepper and I still loved it. A large part of the heat of this dish really comes from the raw onions. For me the chili pepper generally leaves a zingy spicy aftertaste more than anything else.

  2. wow, this looks like a savory, spicy salsa! hahaha i wish i were the type of eater that savored each bite. i would be more mindful of my eating habits then….hahah.

  3. Prachi says:

    hey Raj,

    Always love the Koshimbeers, but here’s a variation that I love even more, My Mom’s recipe…try it out…
    Sorry, i’m not good with measurements, I’m sure you’ll be able to get that better than me, I usually cook with my own ad hoc assessment!
    Grated cabbage
    red onion
    coriander leaves
    shredded coconut (preferably fresh or frozen)
    cumin seeds
    asafoetida a pinch
    salt a pinch
    lime juice
    Olive oil or vegetable oil

    Grate some cabbage, add chopped onions and chopped tomatoes to this. Mix in the chopped chillies, and coconut. In a pan, heat some oil, add the asafoetida, cumin seeds and salt. When the seeds start to pop, pour it over the chopped mix. Stir and serve topped with chopped coriander and lime juice.

    a few more variations to this, you could add ground black peppers or roasted peanuts to this as well. I personally love it just the way it is above.

  4. Linda says:

    Hi Raj. I’m like you, I save my favorite thing for last. At least a bite or two of it so it’s the last flavor in my mouth.

    This salad looks beautiful. I don’t like raw tomatoes or onions, but I still think it looks wonderful. I would like it with cucumbers and maybe grape tomatoes (I do eat those raw). Thanks for participating in the salad challenge!

    • Raj says:

      Thanks Linda! There is also cucumber koshimbir that is very popular. It’s a great cool alternative to this fiery one. I’ll make it soon and put up the recipe. Thanks for hosting the challenge!

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