Onion Salad

This red-coloured onion relish that comes with poppadoms in restaurants has long been a favourite of mine, and it’s very easy to make. I have it on good authority that some people have been known to eat this onion salad on its own with a large spoon!

This recipe, which is from my Curry Compendium and my first book Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 1, should make enough for four to six people to eat with poppadoms alongside other dips. Simply scale the ingredients up or down to adjust the yield.

See also my Mint Sauce and Spicy Red Dip recipes.

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  • 1 medium Brown Onion. Red Onion can be used instead, or a combination of the two
  • 1-2 TBSP Coriander Leaf, chopped
  • 1½ tsp Mint Sauce. Use the jarred variety with vinegar, and not sweet mint jelly. Alternatively use 1-
  • 2 TBSP fresh Mint
  • ¼ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder (optional, for colour and a little warmth)
  • 1½ tsp Mango Chutney. If you don’t like the lumpy bits, crush them smooth with a fork before adding
  • 1½ TBSP Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Kalonji (Nigella) seeds (optional)
  • ½ tsp Beetroot Powder or ¼ tsp Red Food Colouring (optional)
  • ½–1 tsp Lemon Juice or Dressing
  • ½ tsp Chilli Pickle (optional, e.g. Mr Naga)
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  1. Peel the onion and chop width-wise. Dice each half very finely.
  2. To help remove the harsh taste of the raw onion, soak it in cold water with a little lemon juice for 15 minutes or more. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Add to a bowl along with all the other ingredients, and mix well.
  4. Can be eaten immediately, but is best refrigerated (covered) for at least an hour to help the flavours meld, and to mellow the harshness of the onion further.


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  • All spoon measurements are level. 1 tsp=5ml. 1 TBSP=15ml
  • The onion salad can be stored in the fridge (covered) for a couple of days. It does not freeze well.
  • Beetroot powder, whilst having health benefits, will give a very distinct colour and a hint of beetroot flavour.

Books by Richard Sayce


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