Tomato-Onion Chutney


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

One Good Dish

By David Tanis

Published 2013

  • About

Long-simmered chutneys are a bit of a project, but it’s lovely to have a jar or two in the pantry, especially this one made with ripe, red tomatoes. Chutney needn’t accompany only authentic Indian dishes. A spoonful can also complement a good roast chicken or a leg of lamb, even a plate of scrambled eggs at midnight.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cups finely diced onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 small dried red chile peppers
  • 4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • A 2-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and cut into fine slivers
  • 2 cups raw sugar or packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne


    Heat the oil in a heavy stainless steel or enameled pot over medium heat. Add the mustard, nigella, cumin, and fennel seeds and let them fry gently until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, sprinkle with the salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

    Add the hot peppers, tomatoes, vinegar, ginger, and sugar, turn the heat to medium-high, and mash the tomatoes and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the chutney has thickened nicely, about 45 minutes.

    Add the raisins and cayenne (more if you like it extra spicy) and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle into clean jars. The chutney will keep for 1 month, refrigerated, or up to 6 months in the freezer. If you process it for canning, it will keep for a year.