I am sharing my version and the original family version from Kerala. By roasting the onions, the flavors caramelize and become sweet while the chiles' flavors are enhanced. Blended into a paste it is a versatile staple in any household. It is usually served with Idli, Dosa or Ada. In addition, it adds a wonderful flavor to omelets and dips, see the recipes for the Malabar Omelet and Tandoori Wings with Onion Chutney Dip.
This is a treasured recipe from Kachi Balakrishnan's mother, Narayani Nair, because of its fantastic flavor and diverse uses.
2 large red onions
10 dried red chilies
1 tsp salt
2 tsp oil
1. Peel the red onions and cut vertically into 4 pieces. Put them on a skewer and roast over a gas flame until the onions become brownish black. Roast the shallots and chilies in the same way. Remove the stalk from the chilies.
2. Put the onions, shallots and chilies in a blender with the salt and a half cup of water. Grind until it becomes a smooth paste.
3. Transfer the paste to a sauce pan over medium heat and add the oil. Heat and cover the pan stirring frequently until it becomes a thick paste. Turn off the heat and add a little more water and oil so that it has a thick smooth consistency.
4. If the paste looks too dry add a bit of water.
I have simplified the recipe for Onion Chutney to be cooked in a pot rather than roasted over a flame. I also reduced the amount of chiles to make it suit western palates better.
1 Tbs oil
3 large red onions, peeled and cut into eighths
7-8 dried red chiles, stems removed and seeds optionally removed
3/4 tsp salt
1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and red chiles. Fry until the onions turn dark brown about 35 to 40 minutes. Stir often so the onions cook evenly and don’t burn. Reduce the heat to low during the last 5 minutes.
2. Transfer the onions and chiles to a blender. Add salt and a quarter cup of water. Grind until it becomes a smooth paste.
3.Return the chutney to the pot over low heat. Stirring frequently, simmer until it becomes a thick paste.