This simple tomato chutney is a staple in southern India where it is eaten as a condiment with most meals.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (6 votes)


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 dried long red chillies, broken in half
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds (see Note)
  • 1 tsp urad dhal (see Note)
  • 15 fresh curry leaves (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and cumin, and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and 2 dried chillies, and cook for a further 3 minutes. Season with salt and add chilli powder, if using. Transfer to a small food processor and process to a coarse paste.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds or until oil begins to spit. Add urad dhal and remaining 2 dried chillies, and cook for 2 minutes or until dhal is light golden. Add curry leaves and cook for a few seconds or until fragrant. Pour mixture over paste and serve.


• Black mustard seeds and curry leaves are available from select greengrocers, delis and Indian food shops.
• Urad dhal, available from Indian food shops, are small split black lentils; when split they are white in colour. 



Photography Chris Chen. Food preparation Leanne Kitchen. Styling Berni Smithies.


As seen in Feast magazine, April 2014, Issue 30.