Onion chutney, Vengaya chutney or red chutney, is one of the most sought after chutneys in our house. A very simple one with minimum ingredients, it goes well most South Indian preparations like idli, dosa, adai etc. I always have it stocked up in my refrigerator as my younger one loves it.
To put it simply, just grind onion, red chilly, tomato, and salt in a blender, temper, and saute. That’s it. But if you guys know me, I have to write a story 😀 , else the satisfaction of posting the recipe is not there.
Just kidding guys…the chutney seems simple and it is for a South Indian. But if you are not, and more so if you are not Indian then these pointers will help you in successfully replicating the chutney.
The ones you find in the restaurant are sauteed before grinding and so are orange in color. Here we do the opposite-grind and then saute. Kashmiri red chillies and tomatoes are what give the chutney its color.
If you cannot find Kashmiri chillies, regular chillies depending on the spiciness can be used. Tomatoes can also be replaced by pea-sized tamarind. The taste will be the same, though the color of the chutney will not be red.
Most people add a whole lot of chillies and then add lots of oil to balance the spiciness. Of course, it tastes good but not advisable for an everyday chutney. Too many tomatoes will make the chutney tangy. So I add a very small piece of tomato just to remove the bitterness of the onions.
No water is used while grinding. First, grind the tomato with the chillies and salt to a coarse paste. Then add the onions and grind till the mixture becomes smooth and you don’t see any specks of chilly. Grinding this way ensures that the chutney does not splurt out even if you using the chutney jar of your mixer.
Next, while tempering once the mustard splutters add the ground chutney, reduce the flame to medium and let it boil for a few minutes. Do not touch the chutney. If you try to mix it up with a ladle it will start sputtering all over.
I also prefer to add a pinch of sugar/ jaggery to balance the flavors. The addition of oil can also be more or less depending on the spiciness of the chutney.
Leftover chutney can be stored in the refrigerator upto 4 days and reheated before use.
Now, that you know what to take care of, let’s proceed to the recipe 😀 …
Onion chutney/Vengaya chutney
- 3 medium-sized big onions(red Indian onions)
- 3-4 nos Whole Kashmiri red chillies
- ½ small tomato
- salt as needed
- pinch of sugar(optional)
- 1 tbsp oil
- ⅛ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp split urad dal
- few curry leaves(optional)
- Roughly chop the onion and tomatoes and break the chillies into half.
- In a small mixer jar first grind the tomato, chillies and salt coarsely.
- Next, add the onions and grind till it becomes a smooth mixture without any red chilly specks.
- In a frying pan heat up the oil and temper with the mustard, urad dal and curry leaves(if using). Add the chutney to it and cook for a few minutes till the raw smell leaves.
- Add a pinch of sugar and more salt if needed and switch off. Serve with Idli, dosa, or adai.
- The addition of chillies, tomato or salt is subject to personal preference. Increase or decrease as you want to.
- Tempering is not a must. In most of our family, they don’t temper. But we do coz, the raw smell of the onion lingers in our breath.
- The same chutney when ground using the stone grinder or ammi kal, the tomato, chilly, and salt are ground to a nice paste. The onion is then just crushed. It tastes great this way.
- Shallots and small onions are mostly preferred in South India. If you are replacing big onions with shallots, increase the tomato as small onions taste more pungent than big onions.
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