Chinna Vengayam Chutney (Shallot Chutney/Dip)

Shallots are not easily available in North India, where I reside. You have to visit select South Indian shops to buy this vegetable. Having lived in North India for over 35 years, I have almost forgotten that onion normally refers to shallots in South India – not the large onion available where I stay. The taste of shallots is distinctly different from the large onion. Though I use them inter-changeably, there are some dishes where only shallots will work. For example, sambar or this chutney. I paired this with finger millet (ragi) dosas. And was transported to seventh heaven.

Shallot Chutney With Finger Millet Crepes

20 shallots, sliced
4 tomatoes
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
Salt to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi powder, manjal podi)
1/2 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder, kothamalli podi)
Boil the tomatoes and set aside to cool
Drain and grind to a smooth paste
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds and asafoetida
When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the sliced shallots and salt
Saute on medium flame till the onions are browned
Add the tomato paste
Add chilli powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder
Add one cup of water
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Remove from flame
Serve at room temperature with idli, dosa
Or use it as a spread on toast or as a dip

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