Onion chutney recipe is a tasty, easy to make spicy and tangy chutney made with onions, red chilies, some spices and tamarind. It is a wonderful alternate to regular coconut chutney or coriander chutney.
This spicy and tangy south Indian chutney with onion tastes delicious not only with idli dosa but also with snacks. Vegan and gluten free!
I have said this before but here it goes again, I love spicy and tangy chutneys made with onion, tomatoes compared to coconut chutney. So I have experiment with various recipes for onion chutneys.
Here I am sharing a classic south Indian hotel style chutney with pearl onions, red chillies, tamarind etc that is smooth, thick and tastes absolutely yum. You can serve this chutney with South Indian breakfasts like idli, dosa, pesarattu, evening snacks, paratha and also use as sandwich spread.
Here is my keeper recipe for pyaz chutney or vengaya chutney along with some tasty variations and tips.
About This Recipe
Onion chutney is a traditional south Indian chutney served as condiment or side dish with breakfast or snacks like idli, dosa, adai, neer dosa, rava dosa etc. It is called as vengaya chutney in south India.
It is made by sautéing onions until they caramelize slightly and further grinding them into smooth paste. Some spices, herbs and a dash of tamarind are added for taste. The chutney is finished with a tempering or tadka of mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves in sesame oil.
Few recipes call for garlic cloves and I usually make onion chutney without garlic only. You can add few cloves of garlic if you like the flavor.
To make onion chutney I always use sesame oil and my second choice is peanut oil. Both these oils impart an authentic flavor and the chutney tastes very delicious. If these are not available you can use sunflower oil or any vegetable oil available in your kitchen.
Next traditionally pearl onions or shallots are used for making onion chutney. Here also I have pearl red onions only. You can however use any big red onions too.
Peeling shallots and preparing them for any recipe takes some time but it so worth it 🙂 The flavor and taste of this red onion chutney is definitely is one level up when made with shallots.
Here is my recipe for making restaurant style chutney with onions, hope you will try and enjoy! This onion chutney is
goes well with idli, dosa, snacks
Ingredients To Make Chutney
Onions– use shallots or pearl onions if possible for this chutney. If using regular onions just peel and cube them. I suggest you use red onions for chutney as they have a slight sharp taste compared to yellow or white onions.
Chilli– We like this chutney on spicier side so, I go all out and add around 8 chillies. You can increase or decrease as per preference. For mild yet vibrant colored chutney use Kashmiri red chillies.
Chana dal– Usually we add a small quantity of lentils in all south Indian chutneys. They add wonderful flavor, pack some protein and also increases the volume of chutney. Here I have used chana dal or bengal gram.
Tamarind is one ingredient in onion chutney that I do not like to miss. It add a wonderful tangy taste and flavor along with increasing the shelf life of the chutney.
Jaggery– A small amount if jaggery or sugar balances the heat as well as helps in cutting the pungency of the onions.
Tempering ingredients– mustard seeds, black gram or urad dal, curry leaves fried in sesame oil.
How To Make Onion Chutney Recipe
Preparing South Indian Onion Chutney
Rinse and peel the shallots. If using regular onions, peel and roughly cube them.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add dried red chillies, 2 tablespoons chana dal and fry well for a minute.
Next add the shallots or chopped onions. Saute well for 3-4 minutes in medium heat. Switch off the flame and add the tamarind piece. Let cool.
Transfer the onion mixture to a mixer jar. Add salt to taste and 1/2 teaspoon jaggery or sugar. Grind to a smooth chutney adding 3-4 tablespoons water.
Remove the ground chutney to a bowl. Now add 1/2 cup water to the jar and swirl it around, this will remove all the leftover chutney in the walls of the jar 🙂 Add this to the bowl of chutney and mix well.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan again. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon urad dal and few curry leaves. Fry well for a minute and switch off the flame.
Add this tempering to the ground chutney and mix well.
Serve onion chutney as required.
As spread with paratha, naan or sandwich spread too.
With tomatoes– You can add 2 chopped tomatoes in this recipe to make onion tomato chutney. Here is my detailed recipe to make onion chutney with tomatoes.
Peanut onion chutney- You can add 2-3 tablespoons peanut or groundnut in this recipe for a nutty flavor and also increase the volume. Just add the peanuts along with chana dal and fry well. if you are using roasted peanuts just add it to the onion mixture while grinding.
Instead of peanuts you can also add cashew nuts or even almonds to make this chutney.
Onion Coconut Chutney– add 1/4 cup grated coconut to the onion mixture before grinding. Do not saute the coconut in oil or cook it.
With green chilies- Instead of adding red chillies you can fry 2 green chilies along with chana dal.
Garlic onion chutney– Add 3-4 cloves garlic along with chana dal. Peel and saute the whole garlic.
Tips To Make Chutney
Tamarind- I always use dried tamarind as we purchase and store it in bulk. If you are using store bought tamarind paste, use 1 teaspoon tamarind paste. If tamarind is unavailable you can use 1/2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.
Color of the chutney varies with the variety of chilies used. For vibrant color you can use kashmiri red chilies or even add 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste while grinding the chutney.
Consistency– Unlike coconut chutney, this onion chutney tastes good when made thick and smooth. To get the right consistency make sure to grind the chutney very smooth with just enough water. If you add too much water at one go, the chutney will become very thin which will also result in loss of flavors.
This onion chutney recipe shared here yields moderately spiced chutney with slight sour taste from tamarind. You can increase the spiciness by increasing the quantity of red chilies and sour taste by adding 1 more teaspoon tamarind.
Shelf life – This chutney can be stored for 2-3 days in refrigerator. If storing for more than a day use clean glass jars and store airtight.
Frequently Asked Questions
This chutney is wonderful as side dish or dipping sauce with idli, rava idli, dosa, neer doaa, wheat dosa etc.
This is a super delicious chutney with robust flavored which tastes excellent not only with Indian spread but also continental snacks. Try nacho chips or pita chips!
We generally do not use chilli powder to make chutney but you can add 1/2 teaspoon while sautéing onions if you prefer.
Yes this is originally a vegan and gluten free recipe.
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Onion Chutney Recipe
- 1 cup shallots peeled or 1 cup roughly cubed regular red onions
- 1 teaspoon tamarind
- 8 dried red chilies
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil nallennai
To Temper Onion Chutney
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon urad dal
- 12 curry leaves
- Rinse and peel the shallots. If using regular onions, peel and roughly cube them. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add dried red chillies, 2 tablespoons chana dal and fry well for a minute.
- Next add the shallots or chopped onions. Saute well for 3-4 minutes in medium heat. Switch off the flame and add the tamarind piece. Let cool.
- Transfer the onion mixture to a mixer jar. Add salt to taste and 1/2 teaspoon jaggery or sugar. Grind to a smooth chutney adding 3-4 tablespoons water.
- Remove the ground chutney to a bowl. Now add 1/2 cup water to the jar and swirl it around, this will remove all the leftover chutney in the walls of the jar 🙂 Add this to the bowl of chutney and mix well.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan again. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon urad dal and few curry leaves. Fry well for a minute and switch off the flame.
- Add this tempering to the ground chutney and mix well.
- Serve onion chutney as required.