This tomato chutney recipe makes a simple but flavorful Indian condiment. With a combination of spicy, sweet, and smoky flavors, it’s the perfect chutney for dosa, idli or pakora.
Condiments are an essential component of Indian cuisine, eaten with nearly every meal. Every country has them, from shatta sauce and hot chile pepper dips to ajvar relish, quick vegetable or fruit pickles and chutneys, they often serve as more of a side dish than a simple garnish or condiment.
Tomato Chutney Recipe
Cuisine: Asian / Indian
When you travel through Asia on your trip to India, make time to stop for a delicious meal or two. Regardless of the time of day, you’re likely to see bowls of condiments on the table. Perhaps a pudina chutney for dosa, idli or pakoras. This tomato chutney recipe is perfect for that too!
Recipe difficulty: Medium 🥄🥄
Alternate Names/Spellings: Indian chutney, tomato pachadi
A cooked tomato chutney recipe made with fresh tomatoes, tempered with an aromatic, spicy Indian tadka. Smooth with spicy, sweet, sour, and smoky flavors.
Differences between Indian Chutneys, Pickles, Relishes and Pachadi
There is a fine line in the differences between some of the popular Indian condiments. In some cases, it's a the consistency; like how a relish usually has small bits of food whereas a chutney can be either chunky or smooth.
Other times, I think it boils down to a regional difference in grammar or spelling, like potato vs. potatoe. In fact, I've noticed that some Indians use the words interchangeably. This is fine with me. I don't care so much if you want to call it tomato pachadi or chutney, so long as I can eat it.
This being said, there's a unique Indian cooking method known as tadka, or tempering, that plays an important role in creating the rich flavors of Indian chutneys.
- Urad Dal- This is also known as split black gram, mungo bean or black matpe bean. Another common name is black lentil, but urad dal is not actually a lentil.
- Kashmiri Chiles- You can substitute 1 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder for whole kashmiri chiles. If you don't have any kashmiri chili powder, a good substitute is to combine ¾ tsp smoked paprika and ¼ tsp cayenne powder.
- Tamarind Paste- A good substitute for tamarind paste is 1 tablespoon lime juice combined with 1 tablespoon white, granulated sugar.
- Cooking Fat - Ghee, clarified butter, sunflower oil and vegetable oil are all good choices. In general, any neutral flavor of cooking oil will compliment the flavors of most Indian chutneys, allowing the spices and primary ingredients to shine.
Tadka for Tomato Chutney
The Indian word tadka in English means “tempering" but not in the same way that we temper chocolate.
Tadka is actually a noun and a verb. It's a technique of tempering or blooming spices in oil, ghee or other liquid fat to increase their flavor and aroma. It is also the name for the mixture that is created. So, we use the tadka technique to make a tadka. I hope that makes sense!
After the tempering mixture is cooked and ready, it is pureed in with the remaining ingredients to form the tomato pachadi.
NOTES and TIPS
- Be sure the oil is completely hot and shimmering before adding the spices.
- Allow the tomato chutney to cool slightly before pureeing.
- Use the right tools for the job.
After tempering, you'll need to puree the tomatoes with the tadka. Using an immersion (stick) blender, food processor, or high speed blender will give you the smoothest puree.
- Store in refrigerator, not at room temperature.
Although it might be okay to leave the tomato pachadi at room temperature for a couple of days, if you refrigerate it, you'll be able to use it for a couple of extra days before it turns sour.
Yes, this type of Indian chutney is very freezer friendly! As a matter of fact, if frozen in an airtight container, it should keep well for several months.
Unless you preserve it for longer storage by canning it, you'll want to store the fresh tomato pickle in a refrigerator and use it within 3 to 4 days.
Tomato Chutney Recipe
- Make the tadka: Heat oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Turn heat to low and add the urad dal; cook until golden brown.
- Add fenugreek seeds, kashmiri red chilies (dried, broken into pieces), salt, and asafoetida. Stir until the chilies slightly darken. (Watch closely so they do not burn).
- Add chopped tomatoes and curry leaves; cook on low 5 minutes, stirring often. The tomatoes should soften and become mushy. Turn off the heat, stir in seedless tamarind paste and allow the tomato pachadi to cool slightly.
- Using a stick (immersion) blender, food processor or blender, pulse ingredients to a smooth consistency, slowly adding up to ⅓ cup water as needed. Season to taste with salt or lime juice.
- Use as a dipping sauce for vegetable pakora, dosa or idli.
- You can substitute 1 teaspoon kashmiri chili powder for the whole chiles. If you can't get kashmiri red chili powder, a good substitute is ¾ tsp smoked paprika plus ¼ tsp cayenne powder.
- You can substitute the tamarind paste with 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 tablespoon sugar.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.