Onion Tomato Chutney Recipe (Step by Step + Video) - Whiskaffair

Steps by steps Onion-Tomato Chutney

Onion-tomato chutney is a vibrant and tangy condiment that’s commonly paired with a variety of Indian dishes. While coconut chutney holds its revered place in South Indian cuisine, onion-tomato chutney brings its own unique flavor profile, often more robust and savory compared to the sweet and cooling nature of coconut chutney.

The base ingredients, as implied by the name, are onions and tomatoes. The onions offer a depth of flavor, which can vary from sweet to sharp depending on how they’re prepared. Tomatoes contribute acidity and moisture, and when cooked down, they develop a rich and slightly sweet taste. This combination serves as a flavorful backdrop for the inclusion of various spices and additional components like garlic, red or green chilies, and sometimes even tamarind for an extra layer of tartness.

Onion-Tomato Chutney Recipe

Onion Tomato Chutney Recipe (Step by Step + Video) - Whiskaffair

Onion-Tomato Chutney

Red chutney, a.k.a. onion-tomato chutney, is a tangy, spicy condiment. My version includes lentils for thickening and texture. This chutney is wonderful with Dosai, but you can serve it with any breakfast recipe or with rice. It can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Use a clean spoon for each serving.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people
Calories 865 kcal


  • 1 medium skillet


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or corn oil divided
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 3 dried Guntur chiles
  • 1 tablespoon Bengal gram
  • 1 tablespoon husked whole black lentils
  • 3 tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1 curry leaf sprig


  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon of oil.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion browns slightly. Transfer the onion and garlic to a plate and set aside.
  • Return the skillet to medium heat and add the Guntur chiles, Bengal gram, and black lentils. Sauté for 1 minute, until the lentils turn slightly brown. Transfer these to a plate and set aside.
  • Return the skillet to medium heat and add the tomatoes. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until they soften. Turn off the heat and let the tomatoes cool.
  • In a blender, pulse the chiles, Bengal gram, and black lentils into a coarse powder.
  • Add the onion and garlic mixture, tomatoes, tamarind paste, and salt to the blender. With the blender running, slowly add up to 1⁄4 cup of water and blend until a smooth paste forms. Transfer the paste to a bowl.
  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds.
  • Add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Cook until the mustard seeds begin to sputter, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Stir the spice mixture into the chutney until well mixed.


INGREDIENT TIP: If the tomatoes are sour, skip the tamarind paste. For a fiery red color, use byadgi chiles in place of Guntur.
Keyword chopped onion, corn oil, tomatoes

Cooking Tips about Onion-Tomato Chutney

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  • Saute to Perfection: Start by sautéing the onions first until they are golden brown, as this caramelization brings out their natural sweetness and enhances the overall flavor of the chutney.
  • Tomato Selection: Use ripe tomatoes for a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Cooking down the tomatoes until they are soft and pulpy is key to obtaining the right consistency.
  • Spice It Right: Balance your spices according to taste; common spices for onion-tomato chutney include mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and asafoetida (hing). Spices can be adjusted for different flavor profiles or heat levels.
  • Infuse Flavors: After adding the tomatoes to the sautéed onions, incorporate finely chopped garlic, red or green chilies, and salt. Cook down the mixture until oil starts separating from the sides of the pan, indicating that the chutney is well-cooked.
  • Acidity Adjustment: You may adjust the tanginess by adding a dash of lemon juice or vinegar towards the end of cooking, or as mentioned earlier, tamarind for depth of flavor.
  • Chunky vs. Smooth: Decide on the texture you prefer—some enjoy a chunkier chutney, while others prefer it smooth. Blend the cooked ingredients to your desired consistency; a little water can be added if needed.
  • Tempering (Tadka): Like coconut chutney, onion-tomato chutney can also be elevated with a tadka. Heat some oil, crackle mustard seeds, add dried red chillies and curry leaves, and pour it over the chutney for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Cool Before Blending: Allow the sautéed mixture to cool before blending it to prevent accidents and ensure even texture.
  • Storage: Store the chutney in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Ensure the container is clean to keep the chutney fresh.
  • Taste and Adjust: Always taste your chutney after it has cooled down to room temperature, as the flavors stabilize and meld together differently once cooled. Adjust any seasoning at this point.

Serving suggestions about Onion-Tomato Chutney

Onion Tomato Chutney Recipe - Indian Veggie Delight

  • With Indian Breads: Serve it as an accompaniment with traditional Indian bread like naan, parathas, or chapatis. It adds a zesty touch to these staples.
  • As a Side for Grilled Foods: Pair onion-tomato chutney with grilled meats, vegetables, or paneer (Indian cottage cheese) for a tangy twist.
  • With Rice Dishes: It goes well with flavorful rice dishes such as pulao or biryani, providing a contrasting tangy and savory flavor.
  • As Part of a Breakfast Spread: Include it in a breakfast spread with South Indian foods like dosas and idlis or even with omelets and scrambled eggs.
  • Dip for Snacks: Use it as a dip for savory snacks such as pakoras, samosas, or potato wedges, giving them a spicy and robust boost.
  • Spread for Sandwiches: Apply it to sandwiches or burgers as a spread for an extra burst of flavor that complements both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fillings.
  • In Fusion Cuisine: Experiment by using it in fusion dishes, like as a salsa-replacement for Mexican tacos, or mixed with pasta for an Indo-Italian flavor.
  • Accompaniment to Cheese Boards: It can stand out magnificently on a cheese board alongside soft cheeses, providing a delightful counterbalance of flavor.

Top 5 FAQs about Onion-Tomato Chutney

Onion-Tomato Chutney

  • What are the key ingredients for onion-tomato chutney? Onions and tomatoes form the base of this chutney, with the inclusion of garlic, red or green chilies, and a selection of spices like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and asafoetida (hing). Some recipes may also include tamarind for added tartness.
  • How is onion-tomato chutney made? Start by sautéing finely chopped onions until they are golden brown. Add in diced tomatoes, garlic, and chillies, along with the spices. Cook the mixture until the tomatoes are pulpy and oil starts to separate from the sides of the pan. Allow it to cool, then blend it into a smooth or coarse paste depending on your preference.
  • Can I store onion-tomato chutney, and how long will it keep? Yes, onion-tomato chutney can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It generally keeps well for up to a week, but always ensure the container is clean to maintain freshness.
  • Is onion-tomato chutney spicy? The spiciness can be adjusted according to the amount and type of chilies used. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the number of chilies or deseed them. For extra heat, increase the quantity or add spicier varieties of chilies.
  • Are there any variations of onion-tomato chutney? Yes, there are multiple variations. You can add herbs like coriander or mint for a fresher taste, incorporate nuts for texture, or experiment with different spices to change the flavor profile. Some people also use a tadka (tempering) on the chutney prior to serving for an additional burst of flavor.

Onion-tomato chutney is a staple condiment in Indian cuisine known for its delightful amalgamation of flavors that range from sweet and tangy to savory and spicy. Made primarily with onions and tomatoes, this chutney can be customized with a variety of spices such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida to cater to different palates and culinary needs.


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