Kara Chutney | Easy Side Dishes for Breakfast


We are a big chutney loving family. We love our chutneys so much that we don’t mind what the main dish is sometimes, as much as we worry about the side dishes. I have gone on and on here about how we love our hearty breakfasts every morning. And no South Indian breakfast is complete without a good chutney.


I have already posted a few combinations of onion and tomato chutneys – precisely how my mom or my MIL would prepare. Very recently I learnt this version of onion chutney that is also called Kara Chutney as it is supposed to be spicy. It is absolutely delicious with hot, soft idlis – you just have to taste the combination to believe me!


The secret to making the best tasting Kara Chutney is to use Chinna Vengayam or shallots (also called Madras Vengayam or Pearl onions). These small onions give a distinctive taste to the chutney with a slight tanginess from tomatoes. It is no mean task peeling these shallots but I assure you, it’s well worth it. I would urge anyone trying this recipe to try and use shallots but nevertheless this chutney is tasty with regular onions too!


To make Kara Chutney

  • Servings: makes a cup of chutney
  • Difficulty: Easy
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What I used –
  • Chinna Vengayam/Shallots, 15-20
  • Ripe Tomato, 1 big
  • Garlic Pods, 2-3
  • Urad Dal, 5 tsp
  • Chana Dal, 1 tsp
  • Dried Red Chillies, 4-5
  • Oil, 1.5 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida/Hing, a pinch
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Salt, as needed
  • Water, as needed


Prep Work –

1. Soak the shallots/chinna vengayam in a bowl of water (to ease the peeling of skin), chop off the tips and peel off the skin. Wash and set aside.

2. Peel off the garlic skin and chop the tomato roughly. Set aside.

How I made –

1. In a pan, heat 1.5 tsp of oil. Add urad dal, chana dal and dried red chillies. Fry until urad/chana dal is golden brown. Add shallots and garlic pods. Add salt needed for the shallots and fry until half cooked on low flame.


2. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they are mushy. Let the mixture cool down completely. Blend into a coarse paste in a blender. In a small pan, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add mustard seeds. As they splutter, add asafoetida/hing and fresh curry leaves. Let them fry for a few seconds. Add this tempering to the chutney.

3. Serve as side for idli and dosa.


Note –
  • Shallots add to the flavor of the chutney. If unavailable use two medium sized onions.
  • The tomato has to be ripe and juicy.
  • Adjust the number of red chillies as per spiciness needed.
  • Grind this chutney coarsely and not too fine for better texture and taste.
  • Store the chutney in an airtight container for upto 5 days in refrigerator.

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10 thoughts on “Kara Chutney | Easy Side Dishes for Breakfast

  1. For khara chutney u have mentionef 5 tsp and 1 tsp but in the recipe only 2and a half tsp wete used pl clarify thanx Maya

    1. Sorry, my bad – it was a typo. I have corrected the recipe now – yes I used only 2.5tsp of oil. Thanks for bringing this to my notice! 🙂

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