Region or stateAfrican Great Lakes
Main ingredientsTomato, onion
Ingredients generally usedChilli and salt
VariationsLime/lemon juice, coriander, parsley, cucumber, avocado, gin, vodka
Similar dishesPico de gallo, salsa fresca

Kachumbari is a fresh tomato and onion salad dish that is popular in the cuisines of the African Great Lakes region. It is an uncooked salad dish consisting of chopped tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers.[1] Variations of kachumbari can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and in the Southern African countries of Malawi and Congo.[2]

The Swahili word kachumbari originated from the Indian word cachumber.


Kachumbari is used as a salad side dish for a main meal. In Kenya, it is used as a condiment served with pilau (pilaf),[3] mukimo,[4] or a meal of nyama choma (roasted meat) and ugali. In Tanzania, it is eaten with rice pilau or biryani. In Malawi, it is usually eaten on its own like any other salad dish, while in Uganda it is normally eaten with nyama choma.


Other ingredients, such as lime or lemon juice, fresh cilantro (coriander or dhania), parsley, avocado, or cucumber, and in some cases gin or vodka, can also be added. Some recipe variations also call for habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, with a touch of ground cayenne pepper.[5]

Kachumbari is popular throughout the African Great Lakes region and can be eaten with African pilaf and African biryani. In Malawi, it is called sumu or shum or simply "tomato and onion salad".

See also


  1. ^ Sheen, B. (2010). Foods of Kenya. A Taste of Culture. Greenhaven Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7377-4813-0. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  2. ^ Benton, G. A. "Restaurant review: Riziki Swahili Grill takes patrons on a tasty culinary trip to Africa". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2021-09-18.
  3. ^ Bala, Nithu. "Kachumbari - East African Salad". nithubala.com. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Recipe: Mukimo". African Cook. Archived from the original on 2012-06-23. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  5. ^ Bala, Nithu. "Kachumbari - East African Salad". nithubala.com. Retrieved 24 July 2012.