Cold Onion Chutney

Onion chutney

This is that famous curry house chutney!

You know those sliced onions that are served in a red sauce with papadams before the meal at Indian restaurants? Well, they are a lot more popular than you may think. I get asked for this recipe all the time.

This one needs to be served super cold right from the fridge. Dip you papadams in or spread a little over your favourite kebabs. This easy chutney just plain gets it.

Making cold onion chutney

Mix the sauce ingredients.

Making cold onion chutney

Add the sliced onions and roasted cumin seeds.

Making cold onion chutney

Stir is all up.

Cold onion chutney

Dig in.

5.0 from 3 reviews
How To Make That Red Onion Chutney That Restaurants Serve With Papadams
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 large onion - finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoon ketchup (I use Heinz)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
  • A pinch of salt
  1. Place the sliced onions in a bowl of ice water and put in the fridge for about an hour.
  2. When the onion slices are good and cold, drain the water and tap them dry with a clean cloth.
  3. Now mix the ketchup, tomato puree, chilli powder, cumin seeds and salt with the sliced onions.
  4. Stick in the fridge for about 45 minutes before serving.
  5. This recipe is perfect with papadams though I could eat it on its own!




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  1. Jane Willis says

    I’ve just made this to serve with tonight’s dinner (I’m not sure what’s going to evolve yeet, some kind of spicy chicken and rice dish with fresh peas in it, and something involving chick peas and spring cabbage. I might do a mint raita too) and had a furtive sample – it is delicious. The roasted cumin is what makes it really stand out. I wouldn’t say it is just like you get in a restuarant – no, it is far, far better than what you get in a restaurant!

  2. says

    i’ve been searching for this recipe for years. It’s so authentic. As a chutney is goes so well with lots of dishes. Loved it..xx

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Joanne

      I’ve never tried to be honest. I usually just make enough for the meal I’m cooking. I don’t see any reason why not though.


  3. Nick says

    Great website I’m going to make these onions later.
    Is it a must to put the onions in ice water? What’s the reason for this?


    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Nick

      You don’t have to put them in the ice water. It tames them a bit but I often leave this step out.


  4. Sharon says

    Made this very last minute yesterday to go with a curry I had made for friends. I chopped the onion (I used a red onion), mixed the tomato ketchup and tomato puree together then realised I didn’t have the chilli powder! I had a jar of home made chilli jam in the fridge so added some of this and some chilli flakes – amazing!! Friends loved it ☺ So, even if you don’t have all the ingredients, a bit of improvising goes a long way!

  5. Amy says

    I have been looking for this recipe for YEARS!!! Thank you SO much for posting it!! How do I make the “tomato puree” though? Or is this tomato paste?

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