South Indian restaurants are famous for its array of chutneys served with idli. In Tamil Nadu the restaurants serve a white coconut chutney, coriander chutney and this kara chutney with hot idli. Of all chutneys this spicy red chutney is an oasis of pleasure and savour. This kara chutney is spicy, tangy and goes perfectly well with soft idlis. You can use more or less chilies in the chutney to use the taste. The word ‘Kara’ means Spicy and chutney means a dip.

The chutney gives a unique pungent smell and flavour when raw and every ingredient lending its distinctive flavour. Hing or asafoetida is a popular spice that is used almost daily especially in south Indian cuisine. It is used as a digestive aid, as condiment in food and in pickles. It is used to flavour dishes that include sambar, rasam and various curries etc.


Ingredients For Grinding

1. 2 teaspoons sesame oil

2. ¼ cup sliced pearl onions or shallots 

3. ½ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium to large tomato, chopped

4. 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or 4 to 5 medium sized garlic, chopped

5. 4 to 5 dry red chilies, can use Kashmiri red chilies

6. ¼ teaspoon tamarind

7. 1 teaspoon split and husked bengal gram (chana dal)

8. 1 teaspoon split husked black gram (urad dal)

9. salt as required

10. ⅓ to ½ cup water for grinding chutney

For Tempering

1. 2 teaspoons sesame oil

2. ½ teaspoon mustard seeds

3. 7 to 8 curry leaves

4. 1 pinch asafoetida (thing)

Tomato Chutney/

Procedure for the preparation of Kara Chutney:

 Sauteing & Grinding

1. Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a pan

Lower the flame and then add 1 teaspoon urad dal (split husked black gram) and 1 teaspoon chana dal (split & husked bengal gram)

2. On a low flame, saute both the lentils till they start turning golden

3. Then add 1/4 cup sliced pearl onions/shallots or 1/4 cup chopped onions

4. Stir and saute till the pearl onions begin to turn golden, Then add garlic

5. Now add 4 to 5 dry red chilies and saute for half a minute

6. Next add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

7. Add salt & tamarind

8. Saute the tomatoes on a low flame till they soften

9. Switch off the flame and let the chutney mixture become warm or cool down at room temperature

10. Once the mixture becomes warm or cools, then add it in a chutney grinder or a small blender

11. Add 1/4 cup water and grind to a smooth paste

12. Remove the chutney in a a bowl and keep aside

13. Add remaining 1/4 cup water and run the grinder jar again, so that the chutney sticking at the sides and the bottom get mixed with water

14. Add this chutney mixed water to the bowl and mix very well

Tempering For Kara Chutney

1. In the same pan or a different pan, heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil and add ½ tsp mustard seeds and crackle them

2. Then add 7 to 8 curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida

3. Saute till the curry leaves become crisp

4. Pour the tempering mixture in the kara chutney and mix well

5. Serve kara chutney with idli, dosa or uttapam

So, whenever you make dosa the next time, don’t forget to serve it alongside with this condiment. The magical flavours of Kara Chutney brings the purest to your every mouthful bite of dosa.