Best Indian Onion Relish Recipe (Vegan)

Updated on March 7, 2017
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 Indian onion 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 make for an excellent appetizer.

Indian Onion Relish

3.9 stars from 19 ratings of Onion Relish

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 1 Cup


  • 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 the potency of the onion.
  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.

Step-by-step Visual Guide

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Ingredients -- Red Onion, Lemon Juice, Paprika, and Cayenne PepperDice your onion and place into a bowl.Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the onion.Add the paprika and cayenne pepper.Indian Onion Relish
Ingredients -- Red Onion, Lemon Juice, Paprika, and Cayenne Pepper
Ingredients -- Red Onion, Lemon Juice, Paprika, and Cayenne Pepper
Dice your onion and place into a bowl.
Dice your onion and place into a bowl.
Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the onion.
Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the onion.
Add the paprika and cayenne pepper.
Add the paprika and cayenne pepper.
Indian Onion Relish
Indian Onion Relish
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 Cup
Calories 16
Calories from Fat0
% Daily Value *
Carbohydrates 4 g1%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 1 g2%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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 avoids crushing the onion.
  • Light a candle nearby, the flame will draw in the gas.

Calming a Potent Onion

If you find that the onion is 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 more mild. This recipe calls for a red onion, which is generally more sweet and mild, so you may not need to do this.

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.

If you would rather have very mild onions that are sweeter, you can soak the onions in salt water. 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 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.


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    • Jaya Sanghita profile image

      Sanghita Chatterjee 4 years ago from Kolkata

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

    • rebeccamillar profile image

      Rebecca Millar 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

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

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      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 profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I will try this sound very tasty!

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      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 profile image

      BlondHairBlueEyes 5 years ago from Aventura, Florida

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

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      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!