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Vengaya Thogayal (Onion Chutney)

This is one of Venkat’s favorites. I learnt this recipe from Amma (my MIL). And now its my fav too :) Vengayam Means onion tamil, and thogayal means a thick chutney. This recipe is a perfect balance of flavors. The sweetness of the onions is balanced by the sourness from the tamarind and spice from the red chillies. This thogayal is a perfect accompaniment for dosa and puri, it can also be served with white rice and ghee.. If you use a little bit more oil than mentioned in the recipe, this chutney will keep very well 2-3 days, and thus is ideal for travel.


Onions – 4 large (I used yellow onions)
Urad Dal – 1/2 cup
Dry Red Chillies – 8-10 no. (adjust according to your taste)
Oil – 1 Tbsp
Salt – to taste
Tamarind paste – 2 tsp (or more if you use the light colored tamarind paste or a small lemon sized ball of tamarind)

For Tempering:

Oil – 3 Tbsp (preferably sesame oil)
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Dry Red chillies – 1-2 no.


  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan on low heat and saute the whole dry red chillies and urad dal, until the urad dal is reddish brown in color. Remove and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add 2 tsp of oil and add roughly chopped onions and some salt. Cook until the onions are tender and light brown in color. Cool for some time.
  • Grind the urad dal and red chillies into a coarse powder. Remove and set aside. Process the onions and tamarind paste in the blender, don’t grind them into a smooth paste, let them have some texture. Just pulse twice or thrice. Avoid adding water while grinding. Add 1/4 cup of water if you can’t do without it.
  • Heat the 3 Tbsp of oil in the same pan you used to saute the onions on medium heat, and add the mustard seeds, let them splutter and then add the asafoetida, dry red chillies and curry leaves for tempering. Add in the onion paste and the urad dal-red chilli powder and mix well to combine. Adjust salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the thogayal is thick and starts turning brown.

Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Heat before serving.




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