Tomato & Onion Chutney

Tomato & Onion Chutney

This is one of our Baale Mane chutney recipes - chutney in South India is unlike chutney in Europe. It is a fresh, vegetable or nut based sauce/dip which is paired with idli, dosa and some rice dishes. This chutney is made with tomato and onion, and works well with all of our breakfast dishes.  

Makes 1 medium-sized jar.  Feeds four people for a traditional breakfast.


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil + another 2 tbsp
  • 6-8 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • A small handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp toor + urad dal (split pigeon + split black gram lentils)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (about 10 leaves)
  • 6 whole dried red chillies
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • Salt

Depending on the time of the year and the sweetness of the tomatoes, the flavour of this chutney will vary. If it is too sour, add a pinch of sugar in the final step. Alternatively, use white onions which tend to be sweeter.


Heat ¼ cup of oil on low heat and add the onion. Fry till it becomes translucent and then add the tomatoes and coriander leaves.

Let it cook on low heat till the tomatoes become soft and pulpy. You may add a tiny bit of water to hasten the process.

Keep aside to cool.


In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tbsp of the oil on a high heat and add the mixed lentils, cumin, curry leaves, chillies and garlic in quick succession. Fry for a minute until everything starts sputtering. Turn off the heat and add this to the cooked and cooled tomato mix.

Season it with salt, mix well and put all of the mixture into a blender. Blend into a smooth chutney. You may need to add some water and adjust the salt, to taste.

This chutney is best served fresh, but will stay refrigerated for a day or two.

Serve with dosa, idly, rotis or pooris..