This spicy cucumber salad is so quick and easy to make. What is even better is that this salad doubles up as a delicious relish! The next time you make yourself a sandwich, wrap, or burger, add some of this tongue-tinglingly delicious salad to dial up those flavors!
This recipe reminds me of my mum. She and I both are mad fans of spicy food and as a kid, I used to love having this spicy salad with her at the dinner table ❤️
This simple salad is from Andhra Pradesh, India just as this vegan stew with pumpkin and veggies is as well.
We call this cucumber salad dosakaya pachadi which literally translates to cucumber chutney. Although called a “pachadi”, it is more a salad than a chutney!
Ingredients for the spicy cucumber salad recipe
So many lovely flavors and textures here!
As always, please check the recipe card for the quantities.
Cucumber (of course!): My mum uses the Asian cucumber, also known as kheera for this recipe. I use regular English cucumbers.
Spice powders: The layers of flavor in this dish come from mustard powder (see note below on how to make it at home), red chili powder, toasted sesame seeds powder (again, note below explains how to make it), and turmeric.
- Sesame oil for the flavor
- White lentils (with or without their skin) for their nuttiness.
- Mustard seeds for their pepperiness
- Asafoetida adds more flavor.
If you do not already know, tempering is a cooking technique in which whole spices are roasted in oil or ghee to enhance their flavors.
Green chilies and cilantro: I love the "kick" of the fresh green chilies and cilantro in this recipe. Not a fan of either? Feel free to skip them. However, their fresh crunch tastes wonderful in this salad!
Tamarind pulp: The sweet-tart taste of tamarind is the game changer in this recipe! Use store-bought pulp or make it at home. Here is the link to make tamarind pulp at home.
This recipe is free from
This recipe is also allium free and vegan.
Why you will love this salad
💚 It is so easy to make!
💚 You can make it ahead. It keeps well in the fridge, and tastes even better the next day!
💚 It is a salad, condiment, relish, and chutney - all in one!
💚 It is healthy and so delicious!
You might have had the spicy Korean cucumber salad - the one where the cucumbers are sliced to make a spiral and then flavored with Korean chili, soy sauce, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
You might also have had Chinese cucumber salad in which the cucumbers are smashed and tossed with garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, chili oil, and other seasonings.
I urge you to try this Indian-style spicy cucumber salad. You will fall in love with the flavors😍
Here is how to make this salad. See the recipe card for detailed instructions.
Step 1: Dice the cucumber finely, into same-sized pieces. Place them in a large bowl, sprinkle salt and keep aside for 10 minutes.
Step 2: While the salt is doing its work on the cucumber, make the tempering. Heat oil in a pan and when hot, add the lentils, mustard seeds, and asafoetida. Wait for the mustard to splutter and the lentils to turn brown. Take off from the flame and keep it aside.
Step 3: Make the dressing: In a bowl, add the spice powders and tamarind pulp. Mix to make a runny paste (use some of the water from the cucumber, if needed). Keep aside.
Step 4: By this time the cucumbers, with the help of salt, would have oozed out most of their water. Squeeze out any excess water. You would have used some of this water to make the dressing.
Do not discard the remaining water - drink it up, or add it to your smoothie/soup!
Now add the dressing, tempering, chopped green chili, and fresh cilantro to the cucumber and mix well.
That's it! The salad is ready to eat!
If you have the time, let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.
Love spicy salads that can double up as a relish? Then you must try this quick pickled carrots recipe.
On the other hand, if you like salads as a meal, then you will love this sauteed chickpea recipe for how simple and delicious it is!
Serving and storage
Serving: Traditionally this salad is had with steaming hot rice, and sesame oil poured on top. This salad can also be served as a condiment /relish or as a filling to your sandwich, burger, and wrap.
Storing: Store the leftover salad in a glass container with a lid in the refrigerator and it will keep good for 2-3 days. It will taste better with each passing day 😋
Notes and substitutions
Sesame seeds powder: Making this at home is easy!
Place sesame seeds in a hot skillet on medium heat and toss them around till they start to turn brown in color. Set aside, cool, and grind to a coarse powder.
Make a big batch of this as it will stay good for a couple of weeks.
Mustard seeds powder: I use brown mustard seeds as I always have them in my pantry. You may use yellow mustard if that is what you have.
To make mustard powder, grind some mustard seeds (say, 2 tablespoons) in the grinder along with some salt (½ teaspoon) till smooth. Store it in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and it will keep for weeks!
Top tip: Salt will prevent the mustard powder from turning bitter.
Lemon Juice: Do not have tamarind pulp with you? No worries, use lemon juice instead. Start with 2 teaspoons and add it in increments, depending on how tart you like your salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to keep your cucumber salad from getting watery is to add some salt to the cucumber. The salt will extract the water. Drain the water out and then squeeze the cucumber to remove most of its water. Now you can add the rest of the ingredients.
It is not necessary to rinse cucumbers after soaking them in salt. Just squeeze out the water and add the seasonings. Remember to check the saltiness before you add any more salt to the salad.
There are lots of different ways in which you can put those cucumbers to good use. Here are some ideas:
1. Spicy cucumber salad
2. Indian yogurt sauce or raita
3. Infused water
5. A hearty and healthy salad with mung beans, tomatoes, and onions.
If you have made this spicy cucumber salad, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Spicy Cucumber Salad Indian Recipe
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 mixing spoon
- 2 small bowls (one for draining water from cucumber and the other to make the dressing)
- 1 spoon
- 1 skillet
- 1 large cucumber (350 grams, approximately)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
For the dressing
- 1 teaspoon powdered toasted sesame seeds
- ¾ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ⅕ teaspoon turmeric (a pinch)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¾ teaspoon urad dal (white lentils)
- ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida (hing)
- 2 or 3 green chilies
- A handful fresh cilantro
Prep the cucumber
- Wash and chop the cucumber into small pieces - the smaller the better!
- Place the chopped cucumber in a bowl. Add salt, mix and set aside for 10 minutes.The salt will draw the water out of the cucumber.1 large cucumber, ¾ teaspoon salt
Make the tempering
- While the cucumber is marinating in salt, make the tempering.
- Place the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the lentils, mustard seeds, and asafetida. Let the mustard seeds splutter and the lentils start turning brown in color. Remove from heat and keep aside. The tempering is ready.1 tablespoon sesame oil, ¾ teaspoon urad dal (white lentils), ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida (hing)
Make the Dressing
- To a small bowl, add the tamarind pulp, turmeric, ground red chili, toasted sesame seeds powder, and mustard powder. Mix together to make a thick-runny paste. Keep aside. Use some (2-3 teaspoons) of the water that is oozing out of the cucumber to make the paste.1 teaspoon powdered toasted sesame seeds, ¾ teaspoon mustard powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder, ⅕ teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
Prep the garnishes
- Chop the green chilies.
- Chop the cilantro.
Assemble the salad
- After the cucumber pieces have marinated in salt for 10 minutes, drain out the water that has already oozed out. Gently squeeze the pieces with your hand to extract more water. In this way, remove as much water as you can. Do not discard the water! Use some of it to make the dressing and add the remaining to your soup, stew, curry, or smoothie.
- Add the dressing and the tempering to the cucumber and mix well.
- Now add the garnishes. Mix the salad once more and serve. The salad is ready to be served immediately. However, if you have the time, allow it to rest for 5 - 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.2 or 3 green chilies, A handful fresh cilantro
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Leave a Reply