While the rest of the world is fascinated by the multitude of dips that are enjoyed with nachos and other fried items, we Indians are obsessed with our chutney. From mint coriander to coconut chutney, there is no dearth in finding particular chutney that will fit any meal of the day. Among the variations of this necessary condiment of Indian food, there is one native to Karnataka called the Kara Chutney. However, this chutney is far more unique simply for the use of ingredients that are different. Made solely from chillies, justifying the name Kara, tomatoes, and onions this chutney doesn’t involve coconut.

An Invention Of An Accident But Relished With Heart

Right from the name to its preparation, chutney is by heart and soul the creation of India. There are historical accounts suggesting the origin of chutney dating back to 500BC. In ancient times, it was the art of preserving food that was adopted by the Romans and then in England and France in the 1600s. This preservation technique by the British was transformed into making simple spicy chutneys.

However, few other historical pieces of evidence suggest chutney was prepared from fresh fruits and spices in ancient times. Legends have it that chutney could most likely be an invention of the hunters who in ancient times stumbled upon the preparation by chance even before they invented cooking. The hunters relished the crushed berries, fruit, leaves, seeds, and nuts into a smooth paste and relished it.


  • 1 cup Shallots
  • ¼ cup chopped Onions
  • 5 Garlic cloves
  • Small piece of Ginger
  • ¾ cup Tomatoes
  • 3 dry Red chillies
  • 1 Green chilli
  • ¼ cup Mint leaves
  • A handful of Coriander leaves
  • Small sized Tamarind
  • 1 tsp Jaggery
  • Salt


  • Over medium heat pour oil into a pan. Add the shallots and sauté them until they become soft. This should take about two minutes.
  • Then add the chopped onions, garlic cloves, and ginger. Sauté all this for about five minutes.
  • To this add the chopped tomatoes and keep sautéing until the tomatoes become soft too.  Then add the green chillies, dry red chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and curry leaves. Sauté all this for about five minutes or until all this turns soft.
  • To this add jaggery, tamarind, and salt. Give it all a good mix and sauté for about 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
  • Let it cool down and transfer to a grind and form into a smooth paste-like texture. Keep it aside.
  • Over low heat in a ladle pour oil, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. Fry until it splutters then pour over the grounded paste aka chutney.

Serve with hop piping Dosa, Idli,or Vada, this chutney filled with unique flavours will win hearts. A hundred per cent vegan, low on calories, and healthy for the body, this chutney stands apart from the usual preparations. One can adjust the level of spiciness depending upon the palate. For the next dinner party try replacing the usual mind coriander chutney with this one and see the praises coming your way.