South Indian Tomato Chutney


South Indian Tomato Chutney is one of the most important chutneys in a South Indian Thali. The chutney always accompanied with Sambar , Rasam and Onion Namul ( Onions in a spice base ) .   If you love South Indian food, this recipe will perfectly compliment your regular meals. It’s extremely appetizing and mouth watering. I was never a chutney fan before, but my husband introduced me to this lovely recipe and now I can’t get enough of it.

Tomato Chutney

South Indian style Tomato Chutney is the perfect accompaniment to idli, dosa & vadas! It’s easy to make with basic kitchen ingredients! Vegan

Simple Tomato Chutney is the perfect accompaniment to idli and dosas!

This vegan south Indian tomato chutney is easy to make with basic pantry ingredients. 

Even though I didn’t grew up eating South Indian food, I love it a lot – like a LOT and we eat it at least once a week.

Earlier when we would feel like eating South Indian, we mostly go out as I am was not as comfortable making dosa (rice lentil crepe)/idlis (steamed rice lentil cake) at home as I am in making rotis and parathas.

But over time, I have worked hard on my south Indian cooking skills and I can say that I finally made good dosa and idli at home. I also love all south Indian style chutneys from simple coconut chutney to this tomato chutney!

This recipe of tomato chutney is one of my favorites. It’s simple and goes well with so many things! 

India is a country of spices, achar (pickle) and chutney. There are way too many chutneys and everyone has their own way of making them.

I bet you have been to at at least one Indian restaurant named “Chutneys”! We have 3 to 4 Indian restaurants by this name in Seattle alone and I remember there were way too many in London as well.

Chutneys always reminds me of my nana ji (grandfather), he would not have his lunch until and unless there was some sort of chutney on the table. Yeah, he was that specific.

Mom made a chutney for him everyday with whatever was in season. The most common one was of course the cilantro chutney but then there were also chutneys made with whatever was in season – raw mango, gooseberry etc. 

Being an Indian, chutneys are an integral part of my lifestyle and food habits. I like experimenting with flavors and come up with different ones like in this peach chutney.

But this tomato chutney is as basic as it can get!

This Tomato Chutney

✓ vegan and easy to make

✓ uses simple and basic ingredients

✓ perfect accompaniment to idli and dosa or even paratha

✓ mildly spiced and keeps well in refrigerator for a week

I have used very less spice here, only 2 dried red chilies. If you love spice, feel free to double or even triple the amount. Me and Sarvesh aren’t huge on spice so I have kept it minimal.

The process is super simple-  cook the ingredients a little until the raw smell goes away then grind to a paste and that’s about it!

A simple tadka (tempering) of curry leaves and mustard seeds in the end is optional but highly recommended. I can’t eat my chutney without a simple tadka but you can skip it. 

You can also add more flavors to this chutney- like you can add ginger or even roasted peanuts. They will definitely add to the flavors.

This recipe is vegan. To make it gluten-free, you may skip the hing (asafoetida) in the tadka.

Enjoy this tomato chutney with vada, idli, dosa!

typically, a tomato chutney is prepared from just ripe tomatoes. however, some even add onions as well while frying to make it more acidic and spicy. according to me it is a totally a different recipe and it is known as tomato onion chutney. in addition, fresh coconut or desiccated coconut is added while grinding. adding coconut would certainly enhance the taste of tomato chutney, but reduces the shelf life of this chutney.

while chutney recipes are heavily used in india and in its cuisine, but ironically it is believed to be english origination. however in another theory it highlighted that chutney was originated in north india. perhaps the later theory is more convincing as it could have been derived from hindi word ‘chatni’ or ‘chatna’. it literally meaning to lick or it could be lip smacking sound while consuming a tangy dish.

About This Recipe

Tomato chutney is a south Indian condiment made with tomatoes, lentils, herbs and spices. Traditionally this chutney is made by grinding raw tomatoes along with red chilies, tamarind, jaggery & then cooking it in oil.

Over the time people started making many variations with this tangy tomato chutney recipe like adding onions, coconut etc. I am a big fan of chutney with tomato and any day I prefer this tangy chutney to coconut chutney 🙂

Depending upon the ingredients I have and the dish I am serving with, I make tomato chutney in many flavors. Here I am sharing the following variations of this delicious chutney

  1. Spicy tomato chutney with tamarind & jaggery- You can store this for 3-4 days & serve with rice too. This is a no grind chutney where you can finely chop or crush the tomatoes.
  2. Onion tomato chutney that goes very well with idli, dosa, utappam etc.
  3. Easy tomato garlic chutney that goes well with snacks.
  4. Easy Instant pot tomato chutney recipe.

Tomato Chutney

South Indian style Tomato Chutney is the perfect accompaniment to idli, dosa & vadas! It’s easy to make with basic kitchen ingredients! Vegan


COOK TIME20 mins







  • ▢1/2 tablespoon oil use oil of choice
  • ▢1.5 teaspoon chana dal
  • ▢3-4 large garlic cloves
  • ▢1 small onion chopped, 100 grams, I used white onion
  • ▢2-3 dried red chilies adjust to taste
  • ▢2 large tomatoes chopped, 350 grams
  • ▢1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ▢1/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder optional, for bright color


  • ▢1 teaspoon oil use oil of choice
  • ▢1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ▢pinch hing also known as asafoetida
  • ▢6-7 curry leaves


  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a kadai/pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chana dal and cook for around 2-3 minutes or until the dal is golden in color. Remove the dal from pan and set aside.
  • To the same pan now add garlic, onion and dried red chilies. Increase the amount of red chilies as per your taste.
  • Cook for around 3 minutes until the onions are soft. Then add in the tomatoes and salt and stir.
  • Cook the tomatoes until they are soft and mushy, around 6-7 minutes. 
  • Let it cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender along with the roasted chana dal.
  • Grind to a smooth paste. I also added 1/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder while grinding but that’s optional. Transfer chutney to a bowl.
  • To make the tadka/tempering, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small pan on medium heat. 
  • Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add the hing and curry leaves. Saute for a minute until the curry leaves turn little crisp.
  • Transfer the tempering to the tomato chutney and mix. Enjoy tomato chutney with dosa/idlis or even parathas.


  1. I like this chutney more when it’s chilled so pop it in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
  2. If you like spicy food, increase the amount of dried red chilies in the chutney.
  3. You may also add roasted peanuts to the chutney.


Calories: 47kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSodium: 238mgPotassium: 214mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 680IUVitamin C: 36.1mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 0.3mg


You can add few more simple and basic ingredients in this easy recipe of south Indian style tomato chutney or thakkali chutney to vary the flavor and taste.

Garlic– Along with onions you can also add 3-4 cloves garlic in both versions.

Peanuts– While grinding onion tomato chutney you add 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts. This will lend more volume and make the chutney mildly sweet and creamier too.

Coconut– Instead of peanuts you can also add 2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut or desiccated unsweetened coconut.

Tamarind– In both versions you can add tamarind for tangy tomato chutney. In first variation add two teaspoons thick tamarind extract or paste while sautéing tomatoes. In second recipe add a small piece of tomato while grinding.

Black pepper– You can add few black peppercorns and methi seeds or fenugreek seeds for more flavor.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this delicious tomato chutney recipe in multiple ways.

The first version – spicy chutney goes very well with idli, dosa but it also tastes very delicious with hot plain rice, curd rice.

The second version -onion tomato chutney goes well with all south Indian breakfast like idli, dosa, pongal. You can also serve this amazing chutney from south Indian cuisine in the following ways

As a dip with snacks like cutlet, pakora, veg rolls etc

Serve with aloo paratha, plain paratha

As a spread for sandwiches and toasts like avocado toast

As spread for tortilla wraps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is tomato chutney vegan?

Yes, this recipe is naturally vegan.

Is tomato chutney gluten free?

Yes, my version is gluten free as I have not added asafoetida or hing

Can we freeze tomato chutney

Yes, grind the chutney and let it cool to room temperature. Do not add the tempering. Portion it out and add to small containers or freezer safe zip lock bags & freeze. Keeps well for a month. You can thaw at room temperature and make tempering before serving.
You can even freeze these in ice cube trays and thaw as required.

tomato chutney recipe | tangy tomato chutney for idli and dosa

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Total Time15 mins


Cuisinesouth indian

Servings4 Servings



  • ▢2 large ripped tomatoes (chopped)
  • ▢2 cloves garlic
  • ▢1 tsp urad dal
  • ▢2 tbsp oil
  • ▢1 tsp chana dal
  • ▢¼ tsp methi seeds / fenugreek seeds
  • ▢3 kashmiri dried red chilli
  • ▢¼ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
  • ▢½ tsp sugar
  • ▢salt to taste

for tempering:

  • ▢2 tsp oil
  • ▢½ tsp mustard seeds / rai
  • ▢½ tsp urad dal
  • ▢pinch of hing /asafoetida
  • ▢few curry leaves


  • firstly, in a large kadai heat oil.
  • furthermore add urad dal, chana dal, methi and red chilli. adding few seeds of methi gives a nice taste to chutney.
  • saute them on medium flame till dal turns golden brown.
  • further, add garlic.
  • also add chopped tomatoes and continue to saute.
  • saute till the water evaporates completely and tomato reduces in size.
  • now add turmeric powder, sugar and salt.
  • allow the mixture to cool completely and then transfer to a small blender.
  • further, blend to a smooth paste without adding any water.
  • also prepare the tempering. heat oil in a small kadai.
  • further, once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal, hing and curry leaves.
  • allow the tempering to splutter.
  • later, pour the tempering over tomato chutney.
  • finally, serve with rice, idli or dosa.

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