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Onion Chutney (South Indian Recipe) » Dassana’s Veg Recipes


This onion chutney recipe is a great alternative to coconut chutney when you do not have coconut to make it. Make this onion chutney recipe in 20 minutes and serve with South Indian snacks like Rava Idli, Masala Dosa or Uttapam.

onion chutney in a green bowl with dosa stacked on a white plate on a dark green boardonion chutney in a green bowl with dosa stacked on a white plate on a dark green board

Why This Recipe Works

Firstly let me tell you that this is a South Indian recipe of onion chutney. It is also known as vengaya chutney as onions are called vengaya in Tamil language.

This chutney has complex flavors that taste so good. The tamarind adds a slight tart flavor while the red chilies add a smoky flavor to the dish. Garlic makes this chutney slightly pungent, the lightly browned onions add sweetness, while the lentils give a delicious earthy flavor.

This dish is bursting with flavors and goes very well with tiffin snacks such as rava idli, masala dosa, or uttapam. On this occasion, I served onion chutney with Poha Dosa.

The color of the chutney will vary depending on the type of red chilies used. I prefer to add Kashmiri red chilies as they are low in heat and have a beautiful color. You can also use another Indian variety of mild chillies known as byadagi red chilies.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Onion Chutney

Fry Lentils and Red Chillies

1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan. Lower the heat and add 1 teaspoon of chana dal (husked and split bengal gram). Then add ½ teaspoon of urad dal (split and husked black gram).

TIP: You can use sunflower oil, peanut oil or gingelly oil (oil made from raw sesame seeds) or any neutral oil.

oil, chana dal (bengal gram) and urad dal (split and husked black gram) in a panoil, chana dal (bengal gram) and urad dal (split and husked black gram) in a pan

2. Fry stirring often until the lentils turn golden. Do not burn them.

golden sauteed lentils or dal in a pan to make onion chutney recipegolden sauteed lentils or dal in a pan to make onion chutney recipe

3. Then add 2 to 3 Kashmiri red chilies (broken or halved and seeds removed). Stir and fry for some seconds till you see the chilies change color and become aromatic.

Fry on a low heat, so that the chilies do not get burnt. Kashmiri red chilies give a nice color and are not too spicy.

You can also use byadagi red chilies. If you are using medium hot or very hot red chilies then add less.

kashmiri red chilies in the pankashmiri red chilies in the pan

Sauté Onions

4. Add 1 cup of chopped onions and ¼ to ½ chopped garlic (1 to 2 small or medium garlic cloves). You can also use pearl onions or shallots instead of regular onions.

Red onions, white onions or yellow onions, all work well in the recipe.

chopped onions and garlic with kashmiri red chilies and lentils in a panchopped onions and garlic with kashmiri red chilies and lentils in a pan

5. Sauté onions on a low to medium heat and stir continuously.

sautéed onions for onion chutney recipesautéed onions for onion chutney recipe

6. Sauté until the onions turn light golden. Then switch off the heat and let the onions cool at room temperature.

light browned sautéed onions for onion chutney recipelight browned sautéed onions for onion chutney recipe

Blend Sautéed Ingredients

7. Next transfer the entire onion mixture into a mixer-grinder or a small blender. Add ¼ teaspoon of dried tamarind and salt to taste.

If you do not have this dried tamarind that we easily get in India, add ⅛ teaspoon of bottled or packaged tamarind sauce or as needed.

onion mixture for onion chutney in a grinder with tamarind and salt to tasteonion mixture for onion chutney in a grinder with tamarind and salt to taste

8. Add ¼ cup of water and grind ingredients into a smooth paste. Set aside for later.

Onion mixture ground into a smooth pasteOnion mixture ground into a smooth paste

Temper Spices

9. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil on a low heat in the same pan. Then, add ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and cook them until they start to crackle.

oil and mustard seeds in a panoil and mustard seeds in a pan

10. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add a pinch of asafoetida (hing) and 5 to 6 curry leaves.

oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in a panoil, mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in a pan

11. Fry for a few seconds until the curry leaves become crisp.

Saute mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in a panSaute mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in a pan

Make Onion Chutney

12. Keep the heat to a low and add the ground chutney.

Sauteed mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves with ground onion chutney in a panSauteed mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves with ground onion chutney in a pan

13. Mix the chutney with the tempering ingredients.

a mixture of chutney and tempering ingredients in a pana mixture of chutney and tempering ingredients in a pan

14. Add ¼ to ⅓ cup of water. I poured water to the blender jar, swirled it around and added the water into the pan.

This ensures that leftover chutney sticking on the walls of the the jar does not go to waste. You can alter the consistency of the onion chutney by adding less or more water.

ground chutney, tempering ingredients and water in a panground chutney, tempering ingredients and water in a pan

15. Mix very well and then switch off the heat.

onion chutney in the panonion chutney in the pan

Serving Suggestions

Serve this tasty onion chutney with snacks like Idli, Dosa, Rava Dosa or Medu Vada. You can also eat it as a dip with various pakoda varieties like Onion Pakoda, Potato Pakora or Paneer Pakoda.

I also like to have it with toasted bread. I slather some onion chutney on the bread and enjoy it.

Storage and Leftovers

Store any leftovers in a covered container for 1 to 2 days. I would not suggest to make ahead a large batch of this onion chutney. Simply make the quantity you need.

onion chutney in a green bowl with dosa stacked on a white plate on a dark green board onion chutney in a green bowl with dosa stacked on a white plate on a dark green board

Tips

Expert Tips

  • Onions: This chutney can be made with different types of onions like red, white, yellow onions including shallots and pearl onions. However, scallions (spring onions) cannot be used for this recipe. 
  • Consistency: You can alter the consistency of the chutney to suit your taste. For a thick chutney add less water and for a medium-thin chutney add more water. Be careful not to add too much water because the chutney will become thin and the flavors will become diluted.
  • Spiciness: The heat and pungency of the chutney can be reduced by using fewer red chilies or chilies that are less to medium-hot. If spicy pungent chilies are used, the chutney becomes hot and spicy. As you see in the recipe, I have used kashmiri red chilies that are not spicy and give the chutney a lovely orange color. 
  • Sourness: The sour element in the chutney comes from tamarind. If you don’t have tamarind on hand then you can use lemon juice instead. It will taste slightly different though.
  • Scaling: Easily make a large batch of this onion chutney recipe if serving for pot-lucks or small get-togethers.

FAQs

Which mixie do you use?

I use the Preethi mixer grinder blue leaf model. It does a great work of grinding chutneys as well as making batter for idli, dosa, and medu vada.

What can I use onion chutney for?

Onion chutney can be served as a dipping sauce with snacks like rava idli, masala dosa, or uttapam.

Can I add peanuts in the onion chutney?

Yes of course. Use roasted peanuts (unsalted) or roast them separately in a separate pan. When the onions are light golden, add them and sauté for a minute. Later grind or blend everything in a blender.

More Tasty Chutney Recipes!

If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my email newsletter or you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.

This onion chutney recipe is a great alternative to coconut chutney when you do not have coconut to make it. Make this onion chutney recipe in a jiffy and serve with tiffin snacks like rava idli, masala dosa or uttapam.

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 20 mins



Servings 2

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This onion chutney recipe post from the blog archives (July 2016) has been republished and updated on 20 April 2021.

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