Spicy Onion Chutney for Dosas and Idlis



Onion chutney is a favorite in our house. I always make this whenever we have dosas or idlis. It has a hint of sweetness from the onions, tangy taste from the tomatoes and tamarind and heat from the chilies.  The coriander and jeera powders take it to a different level which we love.

I was first introduced to this amazing chutney during our visits to a popular South Indian restaurant in Delhi.  I have tried different versions of it, but finally settled with this version as it is loved by everyone in our family.

Spicy Onion chutney for Dosas and Idlis

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


Onion (white or red) : 2 large, chopped

Garlic : 1 big clove, chopped

Kashmiri red chilli powder : 2 tsp

Coriander powder : 1 tbsp

Jeera powder : 1 tsp

Tomato: 1 small, chopped

Tamarind paste or pulp: 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

Oil : 2 tbsp


Heat a pan or kadhai on medium till hot.  Add the oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry for a few seconds.  Add the onions and mix well.

Saute the onions for about 2 minutes till soft.

Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and jeera powder, mix well and fry for about 5 minutes till the spices have roasted well and oil starts to separate.

Mix in the tomatoes and cook well till they turn soft and mushy.

Turn off the heat and let cool.

Once cooled,  blend with the tamarind paste or tamarind pulp and salt to taste.

You can either blend it fine or leave it coarse, depending upon your choice.

Serve this spicy chutney with dosas, idlis or even bread or chapattis.



You can use small onions (my preference) or shallots which are very commonly used in South Indian kitchens. I did not have them in my pantry so used the white onions instead.

Some people add a seasoning or tadka of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves, but my children prefer them without it.

You can leave the garlic out if you want and the amount of chilli powder can be adjusted according to
 the spiciness of the chilli powder you are using.

This flavorful chutney can be served with bread for sandwiches or even rotis or chapattis.

Handy Tip:

Store spices in a cool, dark place.  Placing them near the stove will cause them to lose their flavor due to the humidity and heat.


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