Best Indian Onion Relish Recipe (Vegan)

Kevin has many interests, including electronics, photography, the idea of personalities (he's an INTJ), fragrances, and cooking.

Indian Onion Relish

Indian Onion Relish

Onion Relish

This is a recipe that many may look at and wonder how it could ever taste good. The lemon juice in this relish counters the onion flavor beautifully to create a very delicious dish. This relish is perfect for any curry night with friends and family. You will want to have naan bread or popadums available for your guests to dip into this, or you could simply add it to your meal as a condiment.

This is a very basic dish that is a great appetizer prior to your main meal. Its tart spiciness pairs well with a tangy raita with cucumber. These two simple dishes can be combined to make for an excellent appetizer.

Cook Time

Prep timeReady inYields

15 min

15 min

1 cup of relish


  • 1 red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika


  1. Dice your red onion into small pieces. If you would rather, you can slice into thin pieces. It is important that your onion pieces are very small or very thin. (See note below on how to cut the onion without crying.)
  2. As an optional step, you can soak the onion or squeeze the onion as mentioned below to reduce its potency.
  3. Place onion in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lemon over the onion.
  4. Mix the lemon juice into the onion. Make sure all of the onion has been coated in the juice. I find my fingers work best for this part.
  5. Now add your paprika and cayenne pepper. Mix again.
  6. If you would like, you can garnish with a lemon wedge. Once done, this relish should be served right away.

Indian Onion Relish

How to Chop Onions Without Crying

When you cut an onion, a gas is released from the vegetable that causes many people to cry. Here are a few quick and easy ways to avoid crying when you cut an onion.

  • Cut the onion under water.
  • Place the onion in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to cutting.
  • Use a very sharp knife. A clean slice prevents the onion from getting crushed.
  • Light a candle nearby. The flame will draw in the gas.

Calming a Potent Onion

Soaking in Cold Water

If you find that the onions are just too strong and you want to take some of the spicy bite out of them, simply soak the onions in cold water for about 15 minutes. This will make your onions taste milder. This recipe calls for a red onion, which is generally more sweet and mild, so you may not need to do this.

Pressing and Squeezing

If you don't want to soak your onions, you can also press your onions between two paper towels and try to squeeze some of the juice from them. I find this to be more troublesome, and it takes the crunch out of the onion as well.

Soaking in Saltwater

If you would rather have very mild onions that are sweeter, you can soak the onions in saltwater. Try using about 1/4 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water. This method will make your onions sweet, and they won't leave a lasting flavor in your mouth. This is the best method if you are planning to serve this dish at a party, since many people will feel uncomfortable or feel worried about having onion breath.

Lemon Juice Will Help!

Lemon juice also minimizes the onion's intensity. The lemon juice cuts the spicy bite from the onion very well. I encourage you to try this recipe without using the above methods to reduce the potency of the onion; you may be pleasantly surprised by how well the lemon accompanies the raw onion flavor.


Sanghita Chatterjee from Kolkata on January 05, 2014:

Thank you for sharing this recipe! Its simple and the tips are very useful too!!!

Rebecca Millar from Melbourne, Australia on October 12, 2013:

I am definitely going to try this the next time I make a curry, thanks for sharing

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 02, 2013:

This looks delicious. I'll try it because it is simple and I'm always looking for new ways to use onion. My late mother-in-law once said that she was surprised that I didn't put onions in my vanilla pudding. Voted up.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 26, 2012:

I can't wait to try this. I love red onion and it seems there are no options of fixing it but you have given us one. Thanks you!

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 08, 2012:

I will try this sound very tasty!

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on June 07, 2012:

Is that it? Every time I go to the Indian restaurant I eat this, and I always thought they was more to it. Thanks and voted useful!

BlondHairBlueEyes from Aventura, Florida on June 07, 2012:

Always looking for new recipes. This sounds fun to make, can't wait to try it!

Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on June 05, 2012:

Kevin, your relish looks delicious. Thanks for the tip for reducing tears when cutting onions. There are times when cutting white onions I can barely finish the job for all the tears I'm wiping away!

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