Chettinad Kaara Chutney – Spicy Red Chutney


If there is one chutney that I can have everyday with idli and dosa, it has to be the kaara chutney / spicy red chutney. I have shared a different version of the kaara chutney here. This recipe is a 5 minute kaara chutney / spicy red chutney recipe. No frying, no sauteing. Easy, breezy chutney cooked to perfection in just 5 minutes.

This is an OPOS – One Pot One Shot recipe.
# This recipe works well ONLY in a 2 or 3 liter Indian style pressure cooker. Do not use a big cooker without adjusting the quantity. It wont work. Do not scale the recipe up or down. Use exact measurements and equipment.
If using induction stove (recommended), cook the chutney ingredients in 1200W for 5 minutes.
If using gas stove, keep on medium and cook for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is over, switch off the flame and release the pressure immediately. Do not try to force open the cooker with the pressure inside. Its dangerous.

Here is how to do the chettinad style spicy kaara chutney. Hope you enjoy the video.

Serve the Kaara chutney with idli, dosa, paniyaram or uthappam varieties.

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Chettinad Kaara Chutney – Spicy Red Chutney

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4.9 from 17 reviews

Recipe for Chettinad Kaara Chutney. A perfect accompaniment for idli – idly and dosa. Tamil style spicy red chutney recipe. Video recipe.

  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 3 persons 1x


  • 3 tablespoon sesame oil (gingely oil, nallennai)
  • 2 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 8 dried red chillies
  • 1 inch piece tamarind
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Take a 3 litre pressure cooker and add in the oil to the pan.
  2. Add in the onion, tomatoes and garlic.
  3. Add in the chillies, tamarind and jaggery.
  4. Cover the pressure cooker with a lid and add the weight.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes. (Set a timer)
  6. Induction stove is preferred. If using induction, set the stove at 1200w. If using gas stove, set it in medium flame.
  7. In both methods you should get about three whistles. You can switch off after 3 whistles. 5 minutes or 3 whistles whichever is first.
  8. After 5 minutes, switch off the flame and release the pressure manually.
  9. Open the cooker and add in the salt.
  10. Grind to a paste without adding any water.
  11. Serve with idli, dosa, uthappam etc..


The term OPOS and One Pot One Shot are registered trademarks owned by Mr.Ramakrishnan. The recipes have been adapted using his OPOS principle. They are used in Kannamma Cooks with prior permission.

  • Author: Kannamma - Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Chutney
  • Cuisine: Chettinad, Tamilnadu


I got a lot of mails asking if the bottom will get burnt as we are not adding any water. Trust me. As we are not sauteing anything, the moisture from the veggies are intact. So that will do the trick.
Also cook in medium high to high heat for just 5 minutes or 3 whistles whichever is the first. If you are afraid of burning, keep the flame in medium.
Trust me in this. I have done it and it works. That’s the beauty of OPOS.

53 thoughts on “Chettinad Kaara Chutney – Spicy Red Chutney”

  1. I tried this recipe and it came out well. But it’s too spicy for my spice level. The tanginess of tamarind and the sweetness of jaggery makes the spiciness of chili more distinct. we have added this to our family menu with less chili for next time. Thank you Suguna for this recipe and introducing me to OPOS

  2. Priya Rao Kumaran

    I tried this chutney recipe tdy! I omitted the jaggery and still turned out amazing! Gonna bookmark this

  3. Spice,tang, sweet….all in one…taste buds went on a roller coaster ride.Wow.Very satisfied..Thank you madam.

  4. Nithyananthi

    Best yummilicious kaara chutney i have ever made and tasted!! As my hubby loves kaara chutney, surprised with this tempting recipe on his br. Day. Even my maid dint waste a bit and everyone in home loved the taste. Thank you so much for your awesome recipe dear!

  5. Why would I fall in love with every one of your recipes. It tastes like my mom’s. Thanks a lot sis.

  6. Love ur recipes. Ur idli recipe is foolproof. After following ur method my idlis super soft. Thx a ton. Pl keep sending me ur recipes

  7. Dear Suguna
    This was the first time I got to know about your recipe blog and I tried out this chutney (with a little reluctancy, looking at the method) but it turned out to be a real good one. I’ve become your fan now.. Many thanks to you…

  8. Dear sugu sis.,
    This OPOS chutney is now a staple sidedish in our house hold. A humble suggestion. If you add salt to the cooker itself we can be very sure tat it’s not burnt at the bottom. The water exudes as we add salt. So the beginners cannot have second thoughts to try this amazing time saving yummy recipe. I am learning a lot A LOT from your posts deary. Pl keep going.

  9. Paayel Agarwaal

    What brand sesame oil to use. I stay in Mumbai.
    Should we use coconut and sesame oil in all chutney preparations?

  10. Anjali Vivek

    Hi Kannamma!

    I will try this recipe as a side dish for dosa tomorrow morning.
    I am about to ask you a silly question – you mentioned 2-3 Ltr pressure cooker but I only have 5 Ltrs.
    Would there be a difference? Should I cook for a longer time?

    Thanks so much for your fab work! Hard work always pays πŸ™‚

    Good luck & I wish you a bright future.

  11. Wish i were there to hug u and shake ur hands by saying ” My beloved queen, your recipes are awesome …”.?..Being a fan of You ,makes me love to cook and it turned out to b really well nowadays…Thanks again my lovable sis..??

  12. Hii akka… Tooo gud..
    Wit two kids being abroad, yur site has been a daily check for instant recipes..
    Can i know for opos ramakrishnan sirs recipes link pls..

  13. Priya Govindaraj

    Hi Suguna ka,
    Tried and came out well.. tasted perfect and as if i was an expert in this recipe. It was magical.. thanks much.
    Could you please let know from where i can purchase the OPOS book by Ramki? Online or any bookstore?

  14. Preethy Mohan

    Hi Kannamma. Your recipies rock. I know you have heard this many times before but seriously this I am saying from the bottom of my heart. Till now I have tried your sambar recipies and some chutney recipies they all turned so tasty that I ended up making chinna vengaya sambar for Onam. All loved it and my husband told me that after 9 years of marriage now I get to taste a typical Tamil style sambar made by you. Before getting to know about your blog my Tamil sambar always turned out to be something else.?. Anyways keep posting and I will keep trying. Love your style of cooking.

    1. Preethy Mohan,
      Your words mean a lot to me. Thank you so much for taking time to write to me.
      I am really glad that your family liked our sambar.
      I am really happy that you trusted KC and made the recipe on Onam day.
      Thanks a lot and Happy Cooking.

  15. Dear sugu sis., Vanakkam.
    This kara chutney OPOS turned out great and was an instant hit in our household.
    Here we release the pressure manually in contrast to onion thokku where we wait for the pressure to release. I got a kind of steamed smell in onion thokku but not in kara chutney. Is that the reason behind it? Please clarify.

    1. Hi Andal. This is an interesting observation. Just try adding a couple of tablespoon of more oil while doing the thokku. That might be the reason for steamed smell I am guessing. Glad you liked the chutney.

  16. Thanks for this recipe. It came out really well. Took me just 10 mins to cook and had with hot idlis.
    Worth the try after a long day at work.
    Gonna try other OPOS.
    I also like the fact that you are uploading the recipes daily!

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