Kachumbari (Tomato and Onion Relish)
In his book, “Koshersoul,” the food historian Michael W. Twitty explores the varied cuisines of the global Jewish diaspora. Kachumbari, the Swahili word that means “pickle,” can be traced to Kenya and other East African countries where the tomato and onion mix is served as a salad or relish. This dish exemplifies a tradition of hospitality: Appetizers or snacks — salatim in Israel, kemia in North Africa and mezze in the Middle East — are offered to house guests. After tasting the small plates, the visitors then decide if they would like to stay and enjoy the main meal. This deeply flavored kachumbari can be served with nearly any fish or other protein-based dish, and can also be offered alongside plantains, or with hummus and pita.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 4ripe but firm tomatoes, very thinly sliced
- 2medium red onions, halved then very thinly sliced
- 1carrot, peeled and sliced
- ½cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1lemon, juiced (4 to 5 tablespoons)
- 1tablespoon chrain (beet horseradish) or regular prepared horseradish
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ½teaspoon garam masala or curry powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Step 1Place the sliced tomatoes, onions, carrot and cucumber in a bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the mixture and add the horseradish. Sprinkle with the red-pepper flakes and garam masala, then season with salt and pepper. Toss together to mix.
Step 2Allow flavors to develop at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours, then serve as a relish or salad.