Here’s a classic Kachumber Salad recipe you can make in 5 minutes with whatever crunchy vegetables you have on hand. This recipe shares fun variations, add-ins, and pairing suggestions!

Salads don’t exist in traditional Pakistani and North Indian cuisine. At least not in the way we know them here.

Yet growing up, something we called a salad (often pronounced sa-laad) would be present at many meals. This salad was really just a plate of sliced veggies, namely onions, cucumbers, and carrots. Also try our TURKISH COFFEE.


Taken up a notch, said veggies would be diced up and and tossed with a snazzy ‘dressing’ of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Now you’ve got one of the only salads in South Asian cuisine with a proper name – Kachumber Salad. 


The word “kachumber”, which we pronounce ka-choo-mer, means “mince”. So Kachumber salad is a mix of minced veggies. Though an ordinary salad in and of itself, it lends freshness, vibrance, and texture to otherwise warming and hearty South Asian fare.

Depending on the region, there are many variations of Kachumber salad, and there is no wrong way to make it.


Although you could serve Kachumber with most main dishes, it goes exceptionally well with:

Fish and seafood recipes.
Soupy curries like Chicken Curry.
Rice dishes like Pulao.
All dals, especially soupy ones
Crunchy snacks



Here’s a classic Kachumber Salad recipe you can make in 5 minutes with whatever crunchy vegetables you have on hand. This recipe shares fun variations, add-ins, and pairing suggestions!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Daily
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 People
Calories 11 kcal


  • 1 bowl


  • 1  medium (~130 g) Roma or vine tomato, diced into ¼ inch cubes or smaller
  • ½ g regular cucumber or 1/3 English cucumber or 1 mini (Persian) cucumber, peeled (see Note 1) and diced into ¼ inch cubes or smaller (roughly the same size as the tomato)
  • ½  medium (~60 g) red onion, diced into ~¼ inch cubes or smaller
  • 2 tbsp  cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp  fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ tsp  fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


  • Place all the ingredients in a small serving bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  • Serve immediately or allow the flavors to meld and juices to release before serving, about 10 minutes. Store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.



Note 1: Peeling the cucumber reduces any chance of bitterness. If your cucumber is mild, feel free to leave peel on if you enjoy the extra crunch.
Note 2: I’m pretty lackadaisical about this but for presentation purposes, try to chop the vegetables around the same size.

Variations and Add-ins

Here are some common or interesting variations and add-ins:
  • Add heat with 1/8 tsp red chili powder or cayenne, or a finely chopped, deseeded green chili pepper.
  • Make it seasonal with crunchy vegetables like a carrots (my favorite!) or radishes in the winter or corn or bell peppers in the summer.
    • For a sweet element, add pomegranate seeds, diced mango, or golden raisins.
    • To enhance texture and warmth, sprinkle roasted cumin powder, chili flakes, or other spices.
    • For a layer of deep flavor, add a minced garlic clove.
    See post for ingredient substitutions!
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  • Eggplants – Select small to medium globe variety eggplants that weigh around 1000 g in total. Here’s a quick guide on choosing eggplants.
  • Ghee and Oil – I love mixing both to get the fluidity of the oil and taste of ghee.
  • Spices – Too many spices can clutter the remarkable smoky flavor, so I like to keep them to a minimum. Similar to Sarson Ka Saag, Baingan Bharta doesn’t need many spices.
  • Green chili pepper – Adding the green chili pepper toward the end keeps its aroma and adds a little extra of heat. Both Thai green chili peppers or Serrano would work, though sometimes Serrano can be too strong and spicy to add at the end


This easy Baingan Bharta (Smoked Eggplant/Aubergine Curry) recipe uses your oven to achieve the smoky flavor of authentic Baingan Bharta. This recipe includes step-by-step pictures and a quick video tutorial. Tested to perfection!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course lunch
Cuisine Punjabi
Servings 3 People
Calories 294 kcal


  • 1 strainer


  • 2 small eggplants (globe variety)
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 3 tbsp neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed
  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1  small onion, finely chopped
  • 4  garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 2  small tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp heaped salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika powder, regular or smoked
  • ½  red chili powder, or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 small green chili pepper (such as Thai or Serrano), sliced or chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp  juice of freshly squeezed lemon
  • ¼ tsp garam masala optional


To Roast the Eggplant in the Oven

  • Set your oven rack so that your eggplants will be as close as possible to the heat source. Use a fork or knife to poke holes throughout the eggplant to prevent it from bursting in the oven.
  • Preheat your broiler on High (550 degrees F/287 C). Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Roast the eggplants for about 30 minutes, turning midway. The skin will blacken and the eggplant may burst a little.
  • Once the eggplant cools down (you can place it in a bowl of water to speed this up) peel the blackened skin, remove the stem and coarsely mash its flesh. I like to do this using the "pulse" function of my food processor. Set aside.

To make the Curry

  • Heat ghee and oil in a skillet a little over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. They will start to sputter. Immediately add the onion and sauté for 5-8 minutes, or until slightly golden. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté until the raw smell disappears, or about 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook until they're soft and the oil starts to leave the sides, about 5 minutes. Add a bit of water (if needed so the spices don't get burnt) and add the salt, paprika, red chili, and turmeric.
  • Add the mashed eggplant and green chili peppers and cook, stirring often, until it is well cooked and becomes mushy like a purée, about 8-10 minutes. Taste and add oil, salt or paprika (for more color) as needed.
  • Turn off the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves. Sprinkle lemon juice and garam masala over it. Serve with naan, roti or other bread. I like to eat it with some yogurt on the side to add some coolness to the dish.


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Presenting the easiest BONE-IN CHICKEN THIGHS to date on withrecipe I almost can’t take the simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here’s how it goes:

  1. Marinate the chicken, because when is marination a bad idea? Marinate for as little as 15 minutes if you can. But if you can’t, you absolutely don’t have to marinate.
  2. Toss all but one of the ingredients (hint – it’s ketchup!) into a pan. Cover & cook.
  3. Add the ketchup. Sauté out excess juices.
  4. It’s done. Even if you don’t want it to be, it’s done.https://www.teaforturmeric.com/instant-pot-kadhi/

A bit of background – we grew up calling this “Chicken Roast”.

Ovens weren’t the norm in South Asia. So to recreate tender chicken and a roast-like finish on the stovetop, you would:

  1. Steam the chicken over the gentlest heat.
  2. Uncover and raise the heat to evaporate the excess juices & lightly sear the meat.


With access to ovens, I don’t see much need or benefit of this method. I usually partly steam chicken in the oven anyway (ex. Baked Tandoori Chicken Curry and Peri Peri Chicken).

But in this case, the pan serves to contain and reduce the vinegar. Plus, it allows us to add the ketchup toward the end, creating a layer of flavor.



Here are the ingredients, all of which you probably have in your pantry right now:

  • Chicken: As I mentioned earlier, you can use any cut of skinless, bone-in chicken such as thighs, drumsticks or cut up whole chicken pieces (the breast pieces will still remain tender!).
    • I’ve used thighs in the pictures and split leg quarters (drumsticks and thighs) in the video.
    • If you can, try to use small chicken thighs (typically 2-3 oz each). Smaller cuts of chicken cook faster and soak up more flavor.
  • Vinegar: I use distilled white vinegar but I think other types of vinegar could also work here.
  • Oil: Any oil, including olive oil, works in this recipe.
  • Cumin seeds: Plain, untoasted cumin seeds (not powder).
  • Black pepper and crushed red pepper (chili) flakes are the only other spices you’ll need. Feel free to adjust according to your desired heat level.
  • Ketchup: Though ketchup elevates the flavor, you really won’t be able to taste it in the final product.


Here’s the back-pocket chicken thigh recipe you didn’t know you needed! This recipe requires 30 minutes, one pan, and 5 pantry ingredients if you don’t count good old salt & pepper. Make this with chicken thighs, drumsticks, or any cut of bone-in chicken. Tested to perfection!
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 10 hours 30 minutes
Course lunch
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 People


  • 1 Pan


  • 2 ib bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, See Note 1
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or 1 ¼ tsp fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes, plus more to taste
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ketchup


  • Optional (but optimal) marination: Place the chicken in a medium bowl and toss with everything but the ketchup. Cover the bowl and let it marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours; or in the refrigerator up to 12 hours. If skipping the marinade, start with the next step.
  • Heat a large, wide pan or Dutch oven with lid over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and its juices (if you didn’t marinate, add all of the ingredients except the ketchup to the pan). Mix well to combine, then and spread out the chicken pieces into a single layer.
  • Reduce the heat to low or low-medium to maintain a gentle simmer.
  • Cover the pan and cook, tossing halfway through, until the chicken is fully cooked, about 25 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to high. Bring the remaining liquid in the pan to a boil and cook until most of it has evaporated (~5-6 minutes). Stir in the ketchup. Sauté, stirring only as necessary to allow the chicken to lightly sear (~2 min). Once the moisture has completely evaporated, turn off the heat. Serve immediately.


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Shami kabab are tender patties made with beef and chana dal (yellow split peas), and then dipped in eggs and pan-fried. These kebabs are kid-friendly, naturally gluten-free, and so wholesome! This easy recipe makes a large batch to enjoy some now, and freeze the rest for later!

if you’re Pakistani, it’s likely your mom/relative/aunty has a shami kabab freezer stash waiting for the next unexpected guest, hungry child, or lazy evening to strike.

It’s a somewhat prevalent practice, and with good reason. It means when life gets busy, there will be shami kebabs within arm’s reach. Silky, wholesome, deeply flavorful kebabs ready to be thawed, pan-fried and served to a someone who’ll likely be grateful for them. SHAMI KEBAB


Shami kebabs were actually brought to South Asia by the Syrians. In Urdu, the word “Sham” refers to ‘Syria’. Eventually, they were picked up and popularized in Mughlai cuisine.

To learn more about the origins and culture of Shami Kabab, check out this beautifully written piece by my friend Maryam, founder of the Saveur-award winning blog Pakistan Eats.


Shami Kabab purists will, rightly so, insist that beef chunks should be used instead of ground beef. This lends them the traditional, silky texture with ‘resha’, as is often said in Urdu. I grew up with the ground beef version and that’s what I typically use. I hope to try it with beef ‘boti’ sometime and I’ll update you when I do.

The main difference will be an increase in cooking time (typically 45 min in the Instant Pot). You will also have to run the beef stew pieces in the food processor first, similar to haleem.

#Shami Kabab

Shami kabab are not only freezer friendly – as in no detectable change in texture, quality, or taste – they’re also incredibly versatile. Have them with your afternoon chai, as a side to make any dinner menu more abundant, or, my favorite, in a shami kebab sandwich drizzled with ketchup or hot and sour sauce.



Shami kabab are tender patties made with beef and chana dal (yellow split peas), and then dipped in eggs and pan-fried. These kebabs are kid-friendly, naturally gluten-free, and so wholesome! This easy recipe makes a large batch to enjoy some now, and freeze the rest for later!
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Side snaks
Cuisine Punjabi
Servings 20 people
Calories 149 kcal


  • 1 cooker


  • 1 tbsp  coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp  whole black peppercorns
  • 2 inch  piece cinnamon stick, broken into a couple pieces
  • 1 small black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and pod discarded
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp toasted or regular cumin seeds

To cook

  • 1.5 lb  ground beef, (preferably full-fat)
  • 1 cup (195 g) chana dal (yellow split peas), washed and soaked for at least 1 hour (up to overnight), then drained
  • 4 cup  water for Instant Pot or 4 1/2 cups water for stovetop
  • 1  medium to large onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, leave whole – will be crushed later
  • 11/2 inch  piece ginger, minced or crushed
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp  cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp  kosher salt – See note 3, will need less if using regular table salt or sea salt
  • ½ tsp chaat masala

To chop

  • 1 (~80 g) small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 thai or Serrano green chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsp  mint leaves


  • 1 egg whisked

TO Frying pan or baking

  • neutral oil, as needed
  • 2 egg whisked


  • Add all of the ingredients listed under ‘Whole Spices’ to a spice grinder and grind until a powder is formed. You may also crush them in a mortar and pestle, though this will be more tedious. This will come to around 2 ½ tbsp ground spices. Set aside.

Instant pot instructions

  • In the Instant Pot, add all of the ingredients listed under ‘To Cook’ as well as the freshly ground spices. Mix very well to combine. (No need to more water than indicated even though it looks dry.)
  • Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting and set the cook time for 20 minutes at high pressure.
  • Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, and then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and select the Sauté – High setting.
  • Sauté, stirring often, for 20 minutes, or until all the moisture has evaporated and the mixture starts sticking to the bottom. (See Note 1) Press Cancel to turn off the Instant pot and allow to cool. If you have the time, refrigerate overnight and they'll be even easier to shape. Remove the bay leaf.

Stove top instructions

  • In a medium, lightweight Dutch oven or pot, add all of the ingredients listed under 'To Cook' along with the freshly ground spices and 4 1/2 cups of water. Mix well to combine. Cover to bring to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to skim off any scum that rises to the surface. 
  • Place the lid ajar and continue to cook on high heat for 50 minutes to 1 hour (depending on thickness of your pot), stirring occasionally, until the chana dal (yellow split peas) is completely cooked. During the last 15-20 minutes, stir frequently to completely evaporate any moisture. The mixture will start sticking to the bottom of the pan. (See Note 1) Turn off the heat and allow to cool. If you have the time, refrigerate overnight and they'll be even easier to shape. Remove the bay leaf.

After cooking

  • Combine the onion, green chili pepper, cilantro, and mint in the bowl of a food processor. Use the pulse setting to finely chop (but not blend) this mixture. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the cooled beef and lentil mixture to the food processor. In batches, process this mixture until as smooth as possible (~1 min). Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the chopped onion mixture. Mix well, then taste and add salt, if desired. Add the whisked egg and mix to combine.
  • Using oiled hands, shape ¼ cup heaped of the mixture into a flat, round patty about 2 3/4 inches in diameter. Continue with the rest of the mixture. You will have around 20 patties. If you wish to freeze them, do so at this point. (See Note 2)
  • Place the egg in a shallow bowl so that you can dip the kababs as you cook. Heat a large skillet, frying pan, or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Dip both sides of each patty into the egg wash. Place 3-5 patties in the pan and allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, using a spatula to turn them over. Be careful not to crowd them too much or it will be harder to turn them. Reduce heat as necessary.
  • Remove from the pan, and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil. Repeat until you have finished pan-frying all the patties. Cook any leftover egg in the remaining oil and serve with the patties.



Note 1: The exact time will vary depending on the water content of your beef. The final mixture should be as dry as possible and begin to look more crumbly.
Note 2 – To freeze: As you shape the kebabs, place them on a tray and freeze 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Then carefully remove from the tray and transfer them to an airtight container or zipper storage bag.
Note 3: The original recipe called for 1 tbsp kosher salt (1 tbsp = 3 tsp) which I found perfect. Recently, a couple readers reported this was too much salt. To err on the side of caution, start with 2 tsp and work your way up to 3 if you think you need it.
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