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Chettinad Kara Chutney served in a bowl.
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Chettinad Kara Chutney Recipe | Onion Tomato Garlic Chutney

Chettinad Kara Chutney Recipe is prepared with pearl onions. This Onion Tomato Garlic Chutney served with South Indian breakfast items is Spicy & tangy.
Course: Chutney (Side Dish), Chutneys
Cuisine: Indian (South Indian)
Keyword: Kara Chutney, Chettinad Kara Chutney, Onion Tomato Chutney, Onion Tomato Thokku, Side Dish for Idli Dosa, Spicy Chutney, Red Chutney,
Author: Padma Veeranki


To Grind:

  • 20 Dry Red Chillies Equal quantities of Kashmiri & Regular
  • 100 grams Shallots Peeled
  • 100 Grams Tomatoes 2 Large, Roughly Chopped
  • 10 Garlic Pods Peeled
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds

For the seasoning:

  • 3 tbsp Sesame Oil Divided
  • 3 Dry Red Chillies Broken
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Black gram/Urad dal
  • A sprig of curry leaves

Other Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Thick Tamarind Extract
  • 1.5 to 2 tsp Salt Or as required
  • 2 tsp Jaggery Powder
  • 1 tsp Asafoetida


  • Grind all the ingredients under the section "To Grind" to a coarse paste in a blender and keep it aside.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan over medium heat. Season with dry red chillies & mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add black gram/urad dal. Sauté until the lentils turn golden brown. Add in a few curry leaves & stir for a minute.
  • Add in the ground mixture & mix well.
  • Stir occasionally & cook for 5 minutes.
  • Then add in thick tamarind extract, required salt & a little jaggery powder.
  • Mix well & cook covered for 5 minutes. Stop at this stage for runny consistency of kara chutney & proceed to the last step. Make sure the raw smell goes away. You can skip the oil & just add asafoetida. This has a less shelf life & you must use it within 5 days.
  • For a thicker kara chutney with longer shelf life, cook further until the oil leaves the side of the pan and all the moisture evaporates.
  • Finally add 1 tbsp Sesame oil/Gingely oil & 1 tsp asafoetida. Mix well & cook for 2 more minutes.
  • 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, Masala Dosa etc.

Recipe Video


  • You can use more or less chilies in the chutney to suit your taste.
  • I have used equal quantities of onion & tomato. You can alter the quantities for variation.
  • Use Gingely oil/Sesame Oil for best taste & flavour.
  • Addition of tamarind gives a nice tang to the chutney, & also helps in keeping the chutney well for more time.
  • The consistency of the chutney is up to you. But, for longer shelf life, you will have to cook it until all the moisture evaporates. You will have to use a little more oil too!
  • Do not compromise on the oil quantity for longer shelf life.