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Vengaya chutney is an Indian side dish that is frequently served with one of two rice dishes known as dosai and idli. This flavorful chutney typically combines chopped or minced onion with tomato, curry, red chilies, garlic, and other spices. It is cooked on the stove top in a small amount of oil and can have various consistencies depending on the amount of tomato that a given recipe dictates. Traditional Indian home cooks often have their own personalized vengaya chutney recipes that originated in Southern India and have been passed from one generation to the next.
One version of vengaya chutney leaves out the tomatoes and instead uses two different types of onions: a medium to large white onion combined with a handful of small pearl onions. These are typically chopped into small pieces and then minced further in a blender or food processor. Cooking with onions takes some attention to detail when making vengaya chutney; they generally need to be cooked until golden brown but removed from the stove before turning too dark in color. The onions also need to be cooked long enough for most of their strong aroma to diminish.
Red tomatoes added to vengaya chutney give the dish a more liquid consistency, similar to a gravy recipe. Onions mixed well with tomatoes make up a favorite flavor among many southern Indian dishes. Some recipes for this kind of chutney call for as little as one tablespoon of diced tomatoes while others require a whole tomato for a sharper taste. When cooking the mixture of onions and tomatoes in a skillet, it is important to only use the measurement of oil that the recipe dictates; otherwise the resulting onion chutney can sometimes have a noticeably oily texture.
Different recipes for vengaya chutney also include various Indian spices, the most popular of which are usually tamarind, mustard, and curry. Some home cooks recommend using fresh curry leaves and mustard seeds rather than the dried versions of these spices. Fresh minced garlic and chopped red chilies are also frequently-used ingredients among many Indian cooks.
A favorite spicy Indian breakfast is vengaya chutney spooned over a dosai, which is a type of crepe made from ground rice and fried until brown in a skillet with oil and various seasonings. Sometimes ground fresh coconut is also added to this version of breakfast chutney. Another staple food paired with it is idli, thicker rice cakes that are cooked in a specialty molded pan.
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