Tomato Chutney

It would be hard to find an Indian household without a chutney or pickle. Every region, every state and every household have their own secret recipes, some often passed down through generations. This Tomato Chutney has not been passed down through the generations, but has certainly been passed to me by my mum and it has a very special place in my heart.

The memory of the aroma of this chutney cooking downstairs in the kitchen is fresh in my mind. There was always something different about this chutney, a distinct flavor that I could never figure out what it was, and frankly, until recently, I had bothered to find out. I just know that the chutney tasted incredible. That distinct flavor comes from the secret ingredient that my mum has used, drum roll………rasam powder. I would have never guessed, but it works.

I have grown up eating this chutney with roti, rice dosas and even idlis. In fact, when I used to go off to college after every summer or winter holidays, my mum used to pack me a lot of food, some of them in 4 months supply, like theplas and podis. One of the items was this chutney that she used to pack in a spill-proof manner to travel half way across the world. Any every time I ate theplas, I would eat it with this chutney and would miss being at home. That’s how far thus chutney has traveled.

I tried making this chutney for the first time and it turned out great. But there was just something missing, I guess its mum’s touch. My mother-in-law also makes a tomato chutney, but her recipe uses different spices and the chutney is more fine and pasty instead of a chunky one. As I said, each household has its own variation of a chutney. But this one, you’ve got to try it.

Prep time5 minutes
Cook time15 minutes



  • Onion – 1, medium, diced
  • Tomatoes – 3, medium, diced

Spices, Flavors and Herbs

  • Garlic – 1 1/2 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Rasam Powder – 1 tbsp
  • Jaggery Powder – 1 tbsp (If unavailable use sugar)
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Salt – As per taste


  • Cooking Oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Heat a pan. To this add, onions and tomatoes
  2. Add salt, jaggery powder and mix. Close the lid. Cook the onions and tomatoes for 5 minutes on medium-high heat
  3. Open the lid and cook for 5 minutes until most of the water evaporates
  4. Add rasam powder. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes with the lid open
  5. In the meanwhile, prepare the tadka (tempering). For this, add oil to a small pan
  6. Once the oil has heated, add mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the chopped garlic. Once the garlic browns, add the tadka to the chutney
  7. Mix well. Serve immediately with roti, rice or dosas. The chutney can be stored in an air-tight container for approx. 30 days in the refrigerator for upto 3 months in the freezer

** Pair this chutney with Adai (A mixed lentil Dosa). Get the recipe here.

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