Tomato chutney is a delicious Indian condiment made with ripe tomatoes, spices, and herbs. It is vegan, gluten-free, and easy to make. This spicy and tangy South Indian tomato chutney is a perfect accompaniment with idli, dosa, vada, and uttapam, or as a dip for snacks, sandwiches, paratha, and pakoras.
I am sharing how to make a South Indian-style Tomato Chutney recipe at home to serve with Idli and dosa.
This South Indian-style tomato chutney is simple, easy to make, and ready in 30 minutes. It is vegan, gluten-free, and can be made ahead of time.
About Tomato Chutney
Tomato chutney is a staple in South Indian cuisine, where it is often served with dosas, idlis, and various rice dishes. It also pairs with snacks like pakoras and samosas and breakfast dishes like parathas.
Traditionally made with ripe tomatoes, this South Indian-style tomato chutney combines the natural sweetness and tanginess of tomatoes with various spices.
It is a perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors that can vary from mild to spicy.
There are many regional variations of tomato chutney across India and other countries, each with its unique ingredients and preparation methods. I'm sharing my easy version of this chutney today.
For this easy tomato chutney recipe, cook the tomatoes with garlic, dried red chilies, and spices until the tomatoes are soft. Then blend to a smooth paste and finish with a tempering of mustard seed and fresh curry leaves.
Whether you enjoy it as a dip, spread, or side dish, tomato garlic chutney is a must-try!
Ripe Tomatoes: The star ingredient, ripe, red, and juicy tomatoes, provides the base and natural sweetness to the chutney. I use plum or Roma tomatoes.
Garlic: It adds a nice garlicky flavor without overpowering the chutney. You can skip it if you dont like garlic but I highly recommend adding it.
Red Chilies: Dried Red chilies, provide the chutney its signature spiciness. The quantity of chilies used can be adjusted to control the heat level.
Spices: Cumin seeds, turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, and salt are the only spices you will need. Kashmiri red chili powder provides a beautiful color to the chutney without adding too much heat.
Dal (lentils): Chana dal (split chickpea) and urad dal (split black gram lentil) are commonly used in most South Indian chutney varieties. They add a nutty flavor, balance the heat, and add thickness to the chutney.
Sugar: Helps balance the spicy and tangy flavors. You can also use jaggery.
Oil: Typically, a neutral cooking oil is used for tempering the spices and sautéing the tomatoes. I've used avocado oil.
Mustard Seeds: These tiny seeds are a key component in South Indian chutneys and are commonly used in tempering. When heated, they release a nutty flavor and enhance the overall taste.
Curry Leaves: Used in tempering. Curry leaves are added for their distinct aroma and subtle, earthy flavor.
Asafoetida (Hing): A pinch of asafoetida is commonly used to enhance the overall flavor of the chutney. It has a unique, pungent aroma. Skip to make this chutney gluten-free.
Please refer to the recipe card for exact measurements of ingredients.
How To Make Tomato Chutney (Stepwise Photos)
Making Tomato Chutney:
1 - Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add chana dana and urad dal. Saute them on medium heat till golden brown.
2 - Next, add the red chilies and cumin seeds and saute till the seeds sizzle. Do not burn them.
3 and 4 - Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes are soft and reduce in size. Deglaze with water if needed.
5 - Add the spices, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, sugar (or jaggery), and salt. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6 - Allow to cool completely
7 - Transfer to a blender and blend into a smooth paste, add water only if and as needed (1-2 tablespoons).
8 - Pour in to a serving bowl.
Making tempering (tadka)
9 - Heat oil in a small wok/kadhai or pan. Add the mustard seeds and Urad dal.
10 and 11 - Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, and dry red chili (optional). Mix well. Turn off the heat.
12 - Pour the tempering over the tomato chutney. Mix to combine. Spicy tomato chutney is ready!
Serve tomato chutney with traditional South Indian breakfast items like dosa, idli, vada, and uttapam or as a dipping sauce for Indian snacks such as pakoras, samosas, parathas, and bhajis.
It can be enjoyed with plain steamed rice and ghee or as an accompaniment to biryanis and pulao.
This spicy and tangy chutney can also be used as a spread with sandwiches, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, wraps, and rolls.
You can store tomato chutney in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. Cool it completely to room temperature before storing it.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months in freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays.
Defrost the required amount of frozen tomato chutney overnight in the fridge or leave it on the counter for a few hours until defrosted.
Use red ripe tomatoes for the best results. They should be firm but not overripe.
Balance sweet and sour flavors to your taste preference. If you prefer the chutney more tangy add tamarind pulp or lemon juice to it, I have not used it in the recipe since my tomatoes were sour enough. Similarly, adjust the sugar (jaggery) to balance the flavors.
Customize the spiciness to your taste by adjusting the quantity of red chilies and chili powder.
I recommend adding Kashmiri red chili powder along with dried chilies for a bright red chutney color.
You can make the chutney smooth or leave it slightly chunky. If you prefer a smoother texture, blend the chutney well.
Variations - you can add onion and ginger to this recipe to make it onion tomato chutney.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tomato chutney is a flavorful condiment made with tomatoes, spices, and other ingredients. It can vary in texture and flavor, but it's typically sweet, tangy, and spicy.
Yes, tomato chutney is vegan and to make it gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida (hing) or use a gluten-free one in the tempering (tadka).
More Chutney Recipes
More Tomato Recipes
I hope you enjoy this Tomato Chutney Recipe !! If you try this recipe, please rate it by clicking stars ⭐️ on the recipe card. Thank you ❤️! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s cooking in my kitchen!!
Tomato Chutney Recipe for Idli Dosa
- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add chana dana and urad dal. Saute them on medium heat till golden brown.
- Next, add the red chilies and cumin seeds and saute till the seeds sizzle. Do not burn them.
- Stir in the garlic and chopped tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes are soft and reduce in size. Deglaze with water if needed.
- Now add the spices, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, sugar (or jaggery), and salt. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Transfer to a blender and blend into a smooth paste, add water only if and as needed (1-2 tablespoons). Transfer to a serving bowl.
For tempering (tadka)
- Heat oil in a small wok/kadhai or pan. Add the mustard seeds and Urad dal.
- Once the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, and dry red chili (optional). Mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the tempering over the tomato chutney. Mix to combine. Tasty tomato chutney is ready!
- Serve tomato chutney with dosa, idli, vada, and uttapam or as a dipping sauce for Indian snacks such as pakoras, samosas, parathas, and bhajis.
Update Notes: This post was originally published on Sep 23, 2014, but was republished with, step-by-step instructions, new photos, tips, and a video in Oct of 2023.