Indian onion salad - one of the most loved accompaniments served along with poppadums in every Indian restaurant. It's not only gluten-free and vegan but oil-free as well.
Generally in Indian households, a plate of sliced onion, green chillies and lemon wedges are offered along with the meal.
However, this simple onion salad called Laccha Pyaaz is specifically popular in north Indian households. It's also served at roadside eateries and dhabas.
In Indian restaurants or takeaways, it is one of the accompaniments served with poppadoms in the chutney tray along with yogurt mint sauce and sweet mango chutney.
The oil-free onion salad is made with onion rings, a few spices and herbs. The onion rings are tossed in a spicy and tangy dressing and make a perfect addition to pretty much any Indian meal.
Lemon juice adds the zing and enhances the flavour of the salad. Cumin imparts an earthy flavour, fresh herbs add freshness and Kashmiri chilli powder adds vibrant colour.
This spicy and tangy onion salad is so versatile that it pairs well with most meals - grilled appetisers, tandoori dishes, alongside simple curry and roti/naan such as chickpea spinach curry, kadai paneer, flavoured rice dishes such as biryani, saffron rice.
If you love this simple salad, you will also like my corn cucumber tomato salad, watermelon mint salad, chickpea salad and cucumber kosambari.
- Vegetables: red onion, lemon and green chilli.
- Herbs: fresh mint and coriander leaves.
- Spices: cumin powder, salt and Kashmiri red chilli powder.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make onion salad?
Cut both ends of the stem off, remove the outer peel and cut the onion into rings.
Separate the cut onion rings.
Soak them in cold water for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the onion rings and put them in a bowl.
Add the salt, chillies, cumin, chilli powder, mint, coriander and lemon juice.
Stir well until the onion rings are well coated with spices and herbs.
Enjoy the onion salad with poppadoms or with the main meal.
Hint: Soak onion in cold water to reduce the pungency and sharp flavour.
Vinegar could be substituted for lemon juice.
Kashmiri chilli powder has mild heat and is used to impart a vibrant colour. Paprika could be used instead.
Chat masala adds a flavour punch and makes it more appealing.
Add chopped tomatoes to make it an onion-tomato salad.
More vegetables such as chopped cucumber and grated carrot make a colourful and healthy addition.
This onion mint salad tastes best when eaten fresh. The moisture released from the onion makes it soggy and the salad loses its visual appeal. So I would suggest preparing only the required quantity that you are sure to finish off the same day.
I wouldn't suggest storing cut onion in the fridge or freezer as a part of meal prep as it leaves behind a strong odour that lingers in the fridge/freezer or a long time after the onion is removed. It results in other food in the fridge/freezer catching the onion odour.
Tips and Tricks
Always make onion salad fresh and just before you plan to consume it. Onion rings lose their crunch and go soggy if you leave them for a longer period of time.
Alternatively, cut onions 1 or 2 hours prior to your meal time and mix in spices and herbs just before you plan to consume them.
You need knife skills to cut onions into rings. If you are a beginner in the kitchen or don't have knife skills then I would suggest chopping into small cubes or slicing onions whichever is easier. Although onion rings are used in Indian onion salad, chopped/sliced onions taste equally good.
Soak the onion rings in water for 10 minutes or so to reduce the pungent odour and sharp taste.
This simple onion salad goes well with appetisers such as paneer tikka, aloo 65.
It's a great accompaniment with poppadoms when served as an appetiser.
A classic addition to the north Indian meal when served with paneer makhani, methi malai paneer, paneer korma alongside naan or roti.
Take simple pulao such as my peas pulao and methi pulao a notch up by serving it with this oil-free onion salad, simple gravy such as plain salna and cucumber raita.
Perk up a weekday meal by pairing it with simple dal palak/ mango dal and rice.
It's a fabulous dish to pair with jeera rice and paneer curry.
No matter how consciously we prepare the required quantity, we often end up with leftovers. However, the best thing about this onion salad is it's so versatile that it could be used in many ways so dealing with leftovers is hassle-free.
Use it up in veggie wraps, burgers and Indian-style sandwiches.
Replace plain onion with these spiced onion rings in my flatbread pizza or in bread pizza.
Instead of cooking plain onion slices, use this salad in a vegetable quesadilla. It's not necessary to cook salad onions, just add them along with cooked vegetables and cheese.
Add some chopped tomatoes to this Indian onion salad and use it up to make masala papad.
Mix in gram flour and make pakora or add more vegetables and spices and turn it into a delicious vegetable pakora.
Red onions are an excellent choice in salads for their bright colour and are most bearable to eat raw when compared to other varieties. They add crisp texture and make salad appealing. However, there's a subtle difference in flavour between red, yellow and white onions. So it's absolutely fine to use any type of onion as long as you are ok with texture and colour.
Soaking cut onions in cold water for at least 10 minutes helps reduce the pungency and mellow the strong flavour down a bit. Perhaps soaking peeled and halved onions in water before cutting helps reduce the tears while chopping as well.
📖 Recipe Card
Easy Indian Onion Salad
- 2 bowls
- 2 spoons
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
- 1 large Red Onion peeled and cut into rings
- 1 Tablespoon mint chopped
- Tablespoon Coriander chopped
- 1 Green Chilli finely chopped
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder
- Salt as required
- Lemon Juice from half a lemon
- Cut both ends of the stem off, remove the outer peel and cut the onion into rings.1 large Red Onion
- Separate the cut onion rings.
- Soak them in cold water for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the onion rings and put them in a bowl.
- Add the salt, chilli, cumin, chilli powder, mint, coriander and lemon juice.1 Tablespoon mint, Tablespoon Coriander, 1 Green Chilli, 1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder, ½ Teaspoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder, Salt, Lemon Juice
- Stir well until the onion rings are well coated with spices and herbs.
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