Mamta's Kitchen

Pickled Onion Salad - Indian Restaurant Style

Sirke Wali Pyaz

Mamta Gupta

Many of you have asked me for this recipe over a period of time. Small, pinkish pickled onions are often served in Indian restaurants world over with pre-dinner drinks. Having asked at several popular restaurants in Delhi and Dhabas (roadside eateries) in Uttranchal province of Northern India, this is the recipe I have come up with. The onions are prepared fresh every morning for that days use. You can serve them for a couple of days after making them, but they loose their crispness as the time goes. The quantities given are approximate and can be adjusted to taste.


  • 250 gm. small onions/shallots /large spring onions, peeled. You can pickle red onions, peeled and cut into large chunks.

  • 2-2 1/2 cups water

  • 1 tbsp. salt, adjust to taste

  • Couple of small slices of beetroot for colour

  • 3 cups white or light balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar or any other vinegar of choice. It should not be a dark coloured or strong vinegar.

  • 1-2 tsp. sugar (optional)


  1. Place prepared onions in a jar or a bowl. Keep aside.

  2. Boil water and beetroot together. Take beetroot out and discard.

  3. Add salt and mix well. Leave to cool completely.

  4. Place onions in a jar.

  5. Mix salted water with vinegar. Adjust salt to taste.

  6. Pour over the onions in the jar/bowl. Onions should be fully covered.

  7. Leave for a few hours.

  8. Serve drained (without the liquid).

  9. Also see Salad Selection and Pickle and Chutney Selection.


  • If you can not find fresh beetroot, pickled will do. You can use colour instead, but I prefer to stick to natural ingredients when possible.

  • Some restaurants add a few drops of olive oil too.

  • One restaurant in Delhi added whole spices like cinnamon, black pepper and bay leaves to the water during boiling. However, I find that the plain onions, without any spices, are the best.

  • Picture by Steven Lister;

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