Red Chutney For Dosa


Red chutney for dosas is a south Indian dish and mainly used in dosa. This chutney is prepared by grinding coconut, red chili and some other ingredients. During the preparation of this chutney, one should be careful not to add much water, because when it is added, it changes the taste and color of the chutney.

Kempu Chutney | Red Chutney Recipe

Fiery red & hot Kempu Chutney recipe with detailed step by step pictures. North Karnataka style Red Chutney recipe – red chilly chutney recipe.

Kempu Chutney Recipe

Kempu Chutney is a popular North Karnataka or Udipi special recipe but it also popular across the state with names like Red Chutney or Red Chilly Chutney. It is fiery red and hot, with looks matching the taste and it is only for those who prefer & love spicy stuff. I had the chance to taste it in an Udupi based restaurant served as a side dish for Akki Roti for the first time and fell in love with it. There are many variations to the same set of ingredients used from across South India or even India, but the proportions used make this recipe unique. While it can be served as a side dish for akki roti or any other breakfast recipe, it can also be used as a spread for mysore masala dosa

Key Ingredients

Dried Red Chilly is the main ingredient for making this red chutney, and also why this chutney gets its iconic name – Kempu Chutney. Using Byadgi chillies gives the much preferred color as well as flavor to the chutney, however Guntur spicy chillies can be used too. Do not use Kashmiri Red Chillies for this recipe.

Garlic Cloves are another must for this chutney recipe. It adds to the flavor of the chutney, although it is upto your preference to adjust the quantity.

Onions slow roasted help break the spiciness of the chutney there by adding some texture to it too.

Jaggery is yet another magical ingredient which adds to the flavor and also helps balance the spice.

Tamarind is the only acidic ingredient in this chutney and it also helps balance the flavor of the chutney.

For full list of ingredients and exact measurements, check the recipe below.

How to make Red Chutney for Masala Dosa

Tips & Important Notes For Making Kempu Chutney

Making North Karnataka Style Red Chutney is very easy and simple, it is also a beginner-friendly recipe. Do follow the below tips to make it perfectly.

Soaking the red chillies/boiling them for 2-3 mins ensures that the chillies get softer. Discard the water to reduce the spiciness to an extent.

Increase the quantity of the onions to make a less spicier version of the red chutney.

The chutney should be made by pulsing a few times in regular intervals without adding more water. It should be on the thicker side.

Tempering the chutney at the end is important – the oil should be smoking hot and should be added to the chutney immediately for best taste.

Kempu Chutney Recipe for Mysore Masala Dose

Substitutions & Variations

Adding garlic cloves to the kempu chutney is optional however it makes a huge flavor difference. Adjust the quantity if needed.

After making the chutney, it can be added to the pan with tempering of mustard seeds and cooked for 3-4 minutes. However, I prefer adding the hot tempered oil to the chutney.

It is optional to temper the chutney especially if used as a spread for Mysore masala dose.

Storing And Serving Suggestions

Kempu Chutney is best served on the side of Akki Roti but can also be served with other South Indian or Karnataka special breakfast like Thatte Idli. It can also be used as a spread for Mysore Masala Dose. It can be stored in an airtight container for upto a week or ten days in fridge but can be left outside at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Red Chilli Coconut Chutney

Red Chilli Coconut Chutney is a delicious and easy-to-make South Indian style chutney that tastes delicious with dosa and idli. It comes together in just 15 minutes using simple ingredients (vegan).

Red Coconut Chutney served in a bowl.

About This Recipe

Coconut Chutney is one of the most popular South Indian condiments and no idli dosa meal is complete without a side of it.

This spicy red chilli coconut chutney is a delicious variation of the classic white coconut chutney. The dry red chillies give a lovely smoky flavor to this red coconut chutney apart from the heat.

This bright and vibrant red coconut chutney recipe comes together in under 15 minutes and uses basic pantry ingredients. It is vegan and can be easily made gluten-free.

This coconut chutney is different from the Maharashtrian dry coconut garlic chutney which is served along with vada pav. I have a lovely recipe to make vada pav chutney, do check it out too.

Serve it with any South Indian breakfast dishes like dosa, idli, uttapam, etc.


Red coconut chutney ingredients.

You will get all the ingredients to make this red chutney in any Indian grocery store.

Fresh Coconut – This chutney is ideally made using fresh coconut but you can also use desiccated coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes. You can use dry coconut in place of fresh coconut but the taste will be different.

To save time, buy already grated fresh coconut from the freezer section of an Indian grocery store.

Dried Red Chilies – Try to use Kashmiri dried red chilies or Bedgi Chilies as they give a lovely red vibrant color to the chutney without making it too spicy. If you like your chutney spicy, go for spicy chilies like Guntur chili.

Roasted Chana – Add in some roasted chana (Bengal gram, bhuna chana), as it adds a great texture to the chutney and also prevents it from getting watery.

Tamarind Paste – This adds that much-needed tanginess to the chutney.

Others – Other than the above-mentioned ingredients, you will also need garlic, fresh ginger, asafoetida (hing), salt, and Kashmiri red chilli powder.

For The Tempering

Red coconut chutney tempering ingredients.

Tempering (Tadka) is optional but it gives a lovely flavor to the chutney and is highly recommended. You will need mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafetida (hing), curry leaves, and dry red chilies.

You can also add some white urad dal and chana dal to the tempering for a nice crunch in this chutney.

How To Make Red Coconut Chutney


Start by preparing the coconut. Discard the outer cover and take out the flesh of the coconut. Grate it using the large hole of a box grater or scrape it using a coconut scraper. You can also chop it into small pieces instead of grating.

Tip – To save time, buy frozen grated coconut from the freezer section of an Indian grocery store.

Remove the stalks of the dry red chilies. Break them into small pieces if your blender is not too strong. Remove the seeds of the chilies if you like the chutney to be even milder.

Chop or grate the ginger and peel the garlic cloves.

Gather the remaining ingredients.

Make The Chutney

Add 1 cup (tightly packed) of grated or chopped coconut, 2 tablespoon roasted Bengal gram (bhuna chana), ½ teaspoon grated ginger, 3-4 cloves of garlic, 6-8 Kashmiri dry red chilies (discard the stalks), ¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing), ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon tamarind paste, and 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder to the jar of a high-speed blender.

All the chutney ingredients added to a blender.

Add approx ½ cup of water and blend to make a smooth chutney. You can add more water if required.

Scrape the sides of the blender a few times while blending.

Check for salt and add more if required and blend again.

Note – The color and spiciness of the chutney will depend on the quality of the dry red chilies used. Use best quality organic chilies for the best result.

Transfer the chutney to the serving bowl.

Smooth chutney made.

Temper The Chutney (Tadka)

For the tempering, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. You can also use ghee, sesame oil, or coconut oil for the tempering.

Once the oil is hot, add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.

Mustard seeds and cumin seeds added to hot oil.

Add ¼ teaspoon asafetida, 10-12 curry leaves, and 2-3 dry red chillies and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds. Stir gently while frying.

Asafetida, curry leaves and dry chilies added to the skillet.

Pour the tempering over the chutney. Mix well and serve.

Tip – Save some tempering for garnishing.

Tempering poured over ready red coconut chutney.


Each South Indian state has a slight variation in which they make this chutney. It is also made differently in different homes. I am listing a few variations that you can try too.

To make Kerala Style red chili coconut chutney, use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

To make this chutney in Mangalore style, add a teaspoon of jaggery while grinding the chutney.

Some people also add shallots (pearl onions) in their chutney. Just fry the shallot in some oil until lightly browned. Then blend them along with other ingredients.

Make this chutney with tomatoes. Saute chopped tomatoes in little oil for 4-5 minutes. Add them with the remaining ingredients and make a chutney.

Serving Suggestions

Red Coconut Chutney tastes best at room temperature.

This lip-smacking accompaniment is great to serve with South Indian dishes like idli, dosa, paniyaram, medu vada, bonda, rava dosa, or uttapam.

You can also serve it with rasam rice, sambar rice, khichdi, dal rice, or plain steamed rice.

Storage Suggestions

This chutney will last for about 2 to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure to use a fresh and dry spoon every time you take out chutney from the container.

If it has thickened after refrigerating, add some water to it and mix well.

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