The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including gluten-free and vegan dishes.


July 30, 2021

The Story of Idlis: Chutneys and Accompaniments - Tomato and Onion Chutney

We hope you enjoyed our posts on the story of idlis and idli varieties

Today's topic is chutneys and accompaniments. Just like how we dip French fries in ketchup, mayo, or chipotle sauce. Idlis can be eaten with various "condiments" or chutneys/accompaniments. 

How do you enjoy eating idlis? Do you dip them into chutney, podi, or sambhar? Everyone in my family has their own preference. When I was little, I used to eat idli with sugar, believe it or not. Now I prefer to eat with different chutneys like coconut chutney or tomato-onion chutney. I also enjoy eating with chutney powder or sambhar. 

When my husband and I visited my grandma in India in late 2019, we ate idlis for breakfast every day for a week. We really loved the chutneys that were packed with the idlis. One of the chutneys was the tomato and onion chutney. Please see the recipe below. 

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1" fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 dry red chili, broken and deseeded
  • 1 tbsp urad dal (black gram lentil)
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 black peppercorn
  • dry tamarind (size of a walnut), soaked in little water
  • ½ tsp salt (or as needed)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp methi (Fenugreek seeds) or as needed
  • 1 pinch Hing
  • 3 to 4 curry leaves
  • 1 dry red chili, broken into 1-inch pieces


1) In a saucepan, heat oil on low/medium heat. Add urad dal and fry it until it turns reddish. Next, add red chili, cloves, peppercorn, ginger, and stir everything for 10 to 15 seconds. Then add chopped onions. Saute until the onions turn transparent; then add tomatoes, salt, and hing. Cook well for few minutes until the tomatoes are soft and done well. Cool it for 5 minutes.

2) Transfer the above mixture into a blender/ food processor, and add the soaked tamarind and blend to a smooth paste, adding additional water to the desired consistency if necessary. Taste to adjust the salt. Note: If the chutney is too sour or spicy, you can mellow it with a ½ tsp of brown sugar.  Transfer the chutney into the serving bowl.

 3) Heat oil for seasoning in a small tempering pan and add mustard and methi seeds. When the mustard sizzles, add red chili and hing and stir for 10 seconds. Add curry leaves in the end and give a few stirs and transfer the seasoning onto the chutney. Mix well and serve with Idli/ Vada or Dosa.