Chettinad Kara Chutney (Spicy ‘Dip’ From Chettinad)

Chettinad cuisine is often spicy with any or all of chilli, onion, garlic and black pepper added generously. Though the cuisine is known for non-vegetarian dishes, there are several wonderful vegetarian dishes too. As winter approaches North India, my body craves spicier food that what I normally have. This chutney is spicy (you can adjust the level of spiciness to suit your palate), but very easy to prepare. And it tastes divine with the bland breakfast dishes of South India, like idlis, dosas, uthappams….

2 medium sized onions, chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
6 cloves garlic
8 dried red chillies (adjust according to taste)
1″ piece tamarind (imli, puli)
1 tsp date paste (optional)
Salt to taste
Into a small pressure cooker, add onions, tomatoes and garlic
Add chillies, tamarind and date paste
Add a little water
Pressure cook, on medium flame, for 5 minutes or 3 whistles (whichever is earlier)
Switch off flame and release the steam manually
Transfer the contents to a blender and add salt
Grind to a smooth paste, without adding water
Serve with idli, dosa, uthappam or other dishes of your choice
Or use it as a dip for vegetable fingers or sliced vegetables

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