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Onion Chutney or Ulli Karam

Onion chutney or ulli karam is a wonderful blend of sautéed mixture of onions, red chilli powder, salt and sugar giving a perfect balance of sweet and hot flavours.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Chutneys
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 10 to 15 servings
Author: Padma


  • 2 large onions peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons salt check according to taste
  • For the seasoning:
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black gram/urad dal
  • 2 red chillies
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • A sprig of curry leaves


  • Mix chopped onions, red chilli powder, sugar and salt. Grind them together to a coarse paste in a blender and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Season with mustard and cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add black gram/urad dal and red chillies. Sauté till the black gram/urad dal turns golden brown, add a pinch of asafoetida and finally add curry leaves, stir for a minute and then add the ground onion mixture to it.
  • Stir occasionally till the oil leaves the side of the pan and raw smell goes away.
  • Turn off heat and allow it to cool and transfer to an airtight container.
  • You can refrigerate and use for about 3 to 4 weeks to serve with idli, dosa, pongal paniyaram, upma or combine with any meal..


1. Spice levels can be adjusted with chilli powder.
2. All the moisture in the chutney must be evaporated before turning off the heat.
3. Oil can be reduced if you are using up the chutney in 2 or 3 days.
4. You can increase quantities of the ingredients proportionally, prepare in large quantity to store in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 weeks and serve with idli, dosa, pongal, paniyaram or combine with any meal.