South Indian spiced Onion Dip

Indian cuisine is never complete without its complimentary condiments. With options running into a few hundreds at least, there is always room for some new chutney/sauce to give a go. This time, DSB is taking a trip down south India and bringing for you, a classic Onion dip with some really simple ingredients. A must try !

Onion chutney/ dip is rather a famous dip (maybe not as common and famous as the awesome coconut chutney) and is always served as one of the chutneys in the South Indian Thali (Platter). Being a north Indian, i have always fancied south Indian food and i like to savour a big bite whenever i get a chance. There are a few famous south Indian food joints in Delhi and they have always impressed me with their presentation, ambiance and off course the awesome food. As a child who was eager to try all the different varieties of dosas (rice batter crepe), idlis and vadas, these places have amazed me… every single time!

A typical south Indian thali would contain a hearty portion of spicy lentils, 2 types of chutneys (coconut and onion/garlic chutney), varieties of semi gravy curries, curd rice and dosa/idli/vada. As a kid, i used to describe the 2 chutneys as white and red. I knew that the white one was coconut chutney as it tastes of coconut predominantly but could never figure out the rich, smooth red chutney. Lucky for me, i learnt what it was when i took a trip to Kerala in south India.

This dip is a very simple dish to prepare but is packed with some amazing flavours and great textures. Not only the bright color but the aroma of this chutney/dip is really inviting and you will find yourself relishing spoonfuls of it in a go. The first time i made it, i served it with the good old Idlis but soon it became a staple dip in our house and we like to try it with new things everyday. Make this chutney once and a pandora of possibilities will open up for you.

South Indian spiced Onion Dip

South Indian Spiced Onion Dip

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Print

onion dip copy


  • 2 tablespoons Oil ( i prefer sesame oil for this)
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • 2 medium onions – roughly chopped
  • 3 whole red chilies ( you can add more red chilies for a spicier, reddish colored chutney)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium tomato – roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 10 pieces of Cashews
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk / water
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar / 1 inch jaggery – crushed

For tempering

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds


  1. Take a saute pan. In it, add in the oil and bring to heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the asafoetida, whole red chillies, chopped onions and mix well.
  2. Let the onions cook till they are golden brown.
  3. Next , add add in the cashews, sesame seeds and mix well and let it cook for about a minute.
  4. Now, add in the chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, tamarind paste, salt, garam masala, sugar and water/coconut milk and bring to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. The chutney mixture is ready.
  5. Now, using a blender, blend all the ingredients into a smooth paste. The Onion dip is ready.
  6. For tempering, in a small pan, add in 1 tsp oil and mustard seeds. Let the seeds splutter. Once done, remove from flame and garnish over the chutney. The South Indian Spiced Onion Dip is ready.

This dip is just so mouth watering that i not only served it with some hot steaming Idlis (Indian rice dumplings – a south Indian staple food) or Curd rice but also ate it with my Shahi Pulao and Vada Pav.

This chutney is a typical South Indian mix but somehow it goes well with many different food. To my amazement, i found it going really well with my wraps and falafal as well. You can try combining it with other dips like Mint-coriander chutney for a sandwich or replace it with sichuan sauce for a pipping hot plate of steamed bean momos .

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  1. Looks like magazine cover 🙂

  2. May I ask what camera do you use? It looks ultra professional 🙂

  3. I believe I’m going to have to invest in tamarind paste: it seems to be used quite often in Indian cookery, am I right, Prachi ?
    I’d like to do a post on all (three !) the super Indian food blogs I’ve recently discovered: would you object to being one of three …?

  4. Onion dip with cashew and coconut milk looks delicious:-)

  5. You have very beautifully presented the Onion Chutney 🙂 Even i use a simple canon point and shoot camera. I wonder how you blur the background of the image? Any tricks and tip….

    • Thanks a lot for your compliment. Actually i use Fujifilm F70 which has a softness feature in it too.. but needs a typical setup for lighting and ambiance.. I keep trying out my photography skills in different natural lights and somtimes the combination strikes well 🙂

  6. I made it & loved it too! I served it with spelt bread sticks! So gooodddd! xxx

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