Onion Chutney For Dosa


Onion chutney for dosa tastes yum with dosas. Onions and tomatoes give this chutney a sour taste. It tastes very good with traditional south Indian breakfast meal of dosa, idli, pongal. I love South Indian cuisine and that’s what I usually order if I happen upon an Indian restaurant. Unlike North Indian, it is relatively free from the use of garlic and onion. But no dish is complete without a side sauce and chutney.

onion chutney recipe | south indian onion chutney for idli & dosa

onion chutney recipe | south indian onion chutney for idli & dosa with detailed photo and video recipe. a rich and flavourful spicy tangy red coloured chutney recipe ideal for idlidosa and other south indian breakfast recipes. this recipe is prepared very similar to the traditional tomato chutney but has to offer more spice level and less sour in taste.

onion chutney recipe | south indian onion chutney for idli & dosa with step by step photo and video recipe. typically chutney recipes have always been an excellent accompaniment for indian meals. basically it helps to enhance the taste of food by acting as side dish. more frequently, chutney’s are considered to be side dish for south indian breakfast recipes. however a spicy onion chutney recipe can also be an ideal condiment for rotiparatha’s and even for sandwich recipes.

i have already posted tomato chutney and onion tomato chutney recipes, and i consider onion chutney recipe is on similar lines. typically these chutney’s are prepared from red chilies which gives rich dark red colour to it. however adding coconut is completely optional to this recipe. if you are planning to add it, i would recommend to slightly roast it with other spices. further i have added mustard and urad dal tempering to this rich chutney which adds a nice flavour to it. even cumin tadka can also be added for better flavour.

while the recipe of onion chutney is extremely simple, yet i would like to share few tips and suggestions. firstly, i always recommend red onions for this chutney recipe as it relatively mild in flavour as compared to white or brown onions. if you like your chutney to have a sharper and a pungent flavour and taste then use white onions. secondly, saute the roughly chopped onions properly in oil, other wise the chutney may smell raw. lastly, if you do not have access to kashmiri red chilies, you can also use degi mirch powder as alternative. you do not have to roast it and just add 1-2 tsp (depending upon your spice level) them before grinding.


Onion Chutney is a very easy chutney to make when you are in a hurry, you just need 10 mins when you have all the ingredients in hand. This is my mothers recipe and it is one of the best as its our family favourite too. There is a perfect balance of heat from red chillies, a mild sweetness from sauted onions and a slight tart flavor from tamarind.

This chutney goes well with almost all breakfast recipes like idli, dosa, pongal, upma etc. This is one of the popolar south indian chutneys next to coconut and tomato chutney. The color of hte chutney purely depends on the red chillies used. I always prefer to use kashmiri red chillies for the mild heat  and the bright red color it gives. You can also use regular red chillies or byadagi red chillies too.

Usually onion is added to most chutney as an additional ingredient but here onion is the main and star ingredient. Sauteing onions until golde gives a slight sweet taste which is balanced by tamarind and red chillies. The key for perfect tasting Onion Chutney is to saute the onions until slightly until caramelising and not more than that. Onion Chutney comes to rescue when you are short of coconuts and tomatoes.


  • Onion : Usually big onion is used for this chutney but you can use small onion / shallots too.
  • Red chillies : Kashmiri red chillies are low in heat also gives a bright red color to the chutney so I prefer adding it. But you can add regular red chillies or add a combination of 2 kashmiri chillies and 2 red chillies too.
  • Tamarind : Tamarind is added to blaance the heat and sweetness and I strong recommend adding it.
  • Tadka spices : Gingelly oil is preferred for tadka / tempering as it gives a nice flavour but alternatively you can use cooking oil too. Oil is heated then mustard seeds, split urad dal and curry leaves are added for tempering.

Onion Chutney

Onion Chutney is a quick traditional south indian chutney to pair up with idli, dosa, upma, pongal etc. It is one of easiest and lip smacking chutneys as it has a burst of flavours. It is a great alternate to the regular chutneys we make.

 Prep Time10 mins

 Cook Time10 mins

 Total Time20 mins



  • 2 medium sized onion chopped roughly
  • 4 nos kashmiri red chillies
  • 1 tsp tamarind
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed

To temper

  • 2 tsp oil preferably gingelly oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp split urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp hing optional
  • few curry leaves


  • To a pan heat oil – add onion and red chillies. You can add small onion too check variations for measure.
  • Saute in low flame.
  • Saute until golden.
  • Switch off. set aside to cool down completely.
  • Transfer to a mixer jar. Add tamarind, required salt and little water.
  • Grind it slightly coarse as shown.
  • Don’t make it very smooth like a paste. Grind it slightly coarse like chutney consistency.
  • Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • To a tadka pan heat oil – add mustard seeds, let it start spluttering then add split urad dal let it become golden then add curry leaves let it splutter.
  • Add tadka to chutney.
  • Mix well. Enjoy Onion Chutney!

About This Recipe

Onion chutney is a traditional south Indian chutney served as condiment or side dish with breakfast or snacks like idli, dosa, adai, neer dosa, rava dosa etc. It is called as vengaya chutney in south India.

It is made by sautéing onions until they caramelize slightly and further grinding them into smooth paste. Some spices, herbs and a dash of tamarind are added for taste. The chutney is finished with a tempering or tadka of mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves in sesame oil.

Few recipes call for garlic cloves and I usually make onion chutney without garlic only. You can add few cloves of garlic if you like the flavor.

To make onion chutney I always use sesame oil and my second choice is peanut oil. Both these oils impart an authentic flavor and the chutney tastes very delicious. If these are not available you can use sunflower oil or any vegetable oil available in your kitchen.

Next traditionally pearl onions or shallots are used for making onion chutney. Here also I have pearl red onions only. You can however use any big red onions too.

Peeling shallots and preparing them for any recipe takes some time but it so worth it 🙂 The flavor and taste of this red onion chutney is definitely is one level up when made with shallots.

Here is my recipe for making restaurant style chutney with onions, hope you will try and enjoy! This onion chutney is

very delicious


restaurant style


gluten free

goes well with idli, dosa, snacks

Ingredients To Make Chutney

Onions– use shallots or pearl onions if possible for this chutney. If using regular onions just peel and cube them. I suggest you use red onions for chutney as they have a slight sharp taste compared to yellow or white onions.

Chilli– We like this chutney on spicier side so, I go all out and add around 8 chillies. You can increase or decrease as per preference. For mild yet vibrant colored chutney use Kashmiri red chillies.

Chana dal– Usually we add a small quantity of lentils in all south Indian chutneys. They add wonderful flavor, pack some protein and also increases the volume of chutney. Here I have used chana dal or bengal gram.

Tamarind is one ingredient in onion chutney that I do not like to miss. It add a wonderful tangy taste and flavor along with increasing the shelf life of the chutney.

Jaggery– A small amount if jaggery or sugar balances the heat as well as helps in cutting the pungency of the onions.

Tempering ingredients– mustard seeds, black gram or urad dal, curry leaves fried in sesame oil.

Serving Ideas

As condiment or dip with breakfasts and snack. Onion chutney tastes delicious with all south Indian breakfasts and snacks like medu vada, uthapam onion pakoda.

As spread with paratha, naan or sandwich spread too.


With tomatoes– You can add 2 chopped tomatoes in this recipe to make onion tomato chutney. Here is my detailed recipe to make onion chutney with tomatoes.

Peanut onion chutney- You can add 2-3 tablespoons peanut or groundnut in this recipe for a nutty flavor and also increase the volume. Just add the peanuts along with chana dal and fry well. if you are using roasted peanuts just add it to the onion mixture while grinding.

Instead of peanuts you can also add cashew nuts or even almonds to make this chutney.

Onion Coconut Chutney– add 1/4 cup grated coconut to the onion mixture before grinding. Do not saute the coconut in oil or cook it.

With green chilies- Instead of adding red chillies you can fry 2 green chilies along with chana dal.

Garlic onion chutney– Add 3-4 cloves garlic along with chana dal. Peel and saute the whole garlic.

Tips To Make Chutney

Tamarind- I always use dried tamarind as we purchase and store it in bulk. If you are using store bought tamarind paste, use 1 teaspoon tamarind paste. If tamarind is unavailable you can use 1/2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.

Color of the chutney varies with the variety of chilies used. For vibrant color you can use kashmiri red chilies or even add 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste while grinding the chutney.

Consistency– Unlike coconut chutney, this onion chutney tastes good when made thick and smooth. To get the right consistency make sure to grind the chutney very smooth with just enough water. If you add too much water at one go, the chutney will become very thin which will also result in loss of flavors.

This onion chutney recipe shared here yields moderately spiced chutney with slight sour taste from tamarind. You can increase the spiciness by increasing the quantity of red chilies and sour taste by adding 1 more teaspoon tamarind.

Shelf life – This chutney can be stored for 2-3 days in refrigerator. If storing for more than a day use clean glass jars and store airtight.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this red onion chutney good for?

This chutney is wonderful as side dish or dipping sauce with idli, rava idli, dosa, neer doaa, wheat dosa etc.

This is a super delicious chutney with robust flavored which tastes excellent not only with Indian spread but also continental snacks. Try nacho chips or pita chips!

Can I Use Red Chilli Powder In This Recipe?

We generally do not use chilli powder to make chutney but you can add 1/2 teaspoon while sautéing onions if you prefer.

Is onion chutney vegan and gluten free?

Yes this is originally a vegan and gluten free recipe.

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