Kara Chutney (Spicy Tomato Chutney)

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If you’re a fan of South Indian Chutneys, then you have to try this fiery Tomato Chutney also known as Kara Chutney. This vegan chutney recipe will become your favorite in no time. Give this flavor bomb a try!

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About Kara Chutney

This Tomato Kara Chutney Recipe is a simple chutney with bold flavors. It has the power to add a punch of flavor to any ordinary meal.

Made with a handful of ingredients such as tomatoes, dry red chilies, onions, and a mix of lentils. It is often enjoyed with dosas, idlis, and various other dishes.

So, get together your ingredients, and make this delicious Easy Indian chutney at home!

Ingredients for Kara Chutney

This flavorful Spicy Kara Chutney Recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients.

The sweetness comes from the chopped onions, tanginess from tomatoes and tamarind, nuttiness from the mix of lentils, and spiciness from the dry red chilies.

The other ingredients used in the tomato chutney are garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, and salt.

spicy tomato chutney recipe

Sautéed garlic adds a nice aroma to the chutney, and the ginger gives it a warm, slightly peppery taste. Salt makes the chutney well-seasoned by bringing everything together.

The second part of the recipe is aromatic tempering, where adding the curry leaves and mustard seeds gives the Kara Chutney its Authentic South Indian Food flavor and taste.

If you can try using Coconut Oil for preparing this chutney. It gives a nice coconutty aroma to it!

Watch the Recipe Video!

How to Make Kara Chutney

Step 1 – Roast The Dals

Heat oil in a pan over low to medium heat. Add chana dal, urad dal, and cumin seeds to the pan. Sauté on low heat until the dals turn golden brown. Transfer it to a grinding jar.

Step 2 – Form The Base of the Chutney

Next, add chopped onions to the pan. Sauté until they become translucent. Then, add chopped tomatoes to the pan. Cook until they become soft and mushy.

kara chutney for idli

Step 3 – Spices and Seasoning

Add dried red chilies and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add a small piece of tamarind and salt. Mix well and cook for a few more minutes until the raw smell disappears.

Step 4 – Cooling and Blending

Transfer all the ingredients to the grinding jar. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature. Transfer the cooled mixture to a blender.

Blend it into a smooth paste by adding water as required to get a smooth consistency.

hotel style kara chutney

Step 5 – Tempering

Heat a tadka pan and add a little oil. Next, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves to the oil. Let it splutter. Pour the tempered mixture over the chutney and mix well.

Step 6 – Serve

Easy Kara Chutney is ready to be served! Pair it with dosas, idlis, vadas, or any other South Indian snacks.

thakkali kara chutney

Tips & Tricks!

1. Transfer the chutney to a clean, airtight container if you want to store it. You can store it in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

2. This chutney is considered moderately spicy but you can adjust the spiciness by adding more dry red chilies.

3. Make sure you sauté all the ingredients properly. If the ingredients stay raw, it might alter the taste of the chutney.

4. Serve this chutney with any South Indian dishes such as idlis, dosas, or vadas. It can also be served with steamed or seasoned rice or chapati or as a dipping sauce for snacks.

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I really hope you give this Kara Chutney Recipe (Spicy Tomato Chutney) a try and love it as much as we do! Don’t forget to leave a star rating ★ in the comment section below. Your feedback means a lot! 

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Happy Cooking! 👩‍🍳

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Kara Chutney Recipe

Kara Chutney, also known as Spicy Chutney, is a vibrant and spicy side dish from the souther region of India.
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people


  • 1 mixer grinder
  • 1 pan
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 Tadka pan


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 1 tbsp  urad dal
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 nos big garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch ginger roughly chopped
  • 1 no big onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 nos big tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 5-6 nos dry red chillies
  • small piece of tamarind
  • salt to taste


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 7-8 nos curry leaves


  • Heat a pan and add chana dal, urad dal, and cumin seeds. Roast for 3-4 mins and keep it aside.
    1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp chana dal, 1 tbsp  urad dal, 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • In the same pan, add garlic cloves, ginger, and onion. Let it cook.
    3-4 nos big garlic cloves, 1/2 inch ginger, 1 no big onion,
  • Next, add the tomatoes, dry red chillies, tamarind, and salt. Cook till tomatoes become soft. Let it cool down.
    2 nos big tomatoes, 5-6 nos dry red chillies, small piece of tamarind, salt
  • Transfer all the roasted dals and tomato mixture to a grinding jar. Add water and grind into a fine paste.
  • Heat a tadka pan and add oil. Next, add the mustard seeds and add the curry leaves. When the curry leaves crackle add the tadka to the chutney.
    1 tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 7-8 nos curry leaves
  • Serve it with dosa and idlis!



  • Do not over roast the lentils as it will result to bitter taste.
  • Adjust the spice level based on your preference.
Keyword Chutney Recipe, Kara Chutney, Kara Chutney Recipe

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