Bombay Chutney is a delicious side dish that adds an extra zing to your breakfast foods from idli and dosa to poori and roti. If you’re bored of serving the standard onion, tomato, coconut or herb-based chutney with traditional Indian tiffin, add this quick and easy dish to your chutney collection. A perfect pick-me-up accompaniment that’s packed with flavor & deliciousness!
About Bombay Chutney
Bombay chutney also known as besan chutney, is a side dish made by simmering gram flour slurry with a tempering made of whole spices, onion-tomatoes and herbs. Like many street foods that have become mainstream, no one knows about its true origins. You’ll find this Bombay chutney served by roadside tiffin sellers in small towns & in Tiffin Centers in South India.
Some compare it to the Maharashtrian Pitla (thick besan gravy) served with bhakri (jowar roti).
This spicy Bombay chutney recipe is made the usual way by sautéing onions and tomatoes in oil with the addition of basic spices and green chili. A besan slurry is added to the vegetables, and before long, you have a chutney with a nice consistency and great flavor and aroma.
About this recipe
In this post I have shown making the dish with besan (gram flour) but in a lot of tiffin places it is also made with roasted gram powder (sattu). My mom always made this with roasted gram powder as the chutney gets done under 5 mins without leaving a raw flavor. Besan slurry takes a little longer about 10 mins to loose the raw flavor. I have a simple and easy version of the same here – Potato sagu
Bombay chutney is a versatile dish. You can add potatoes and other vegetables like peas, carrots, beans and bell peppers. Or skip the onions and tomatoes. Add curd, or alter the spices and tempering ingredients to create different versions.
A thinned down chutney goes well with dosa, upma and rava idli, while roti and poori taste better with the thicker chutney.
How to make Bombay chutney (stepwise photos)
1. Chop 1 medium onion (¾ cup) and 1 small deseeded tomato (¼ to ⅓ cup). I prefer to keep the onions larger in size, you can also slice or fine chop them. Finely chop coriander leaves, green chilies and 1 teaspoon ginger.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil to a pan on medium heat (Add less oil as per your preference). Reduce the heat to low and add these ingredients:
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon urad dal
½ teaspoon chana dal
1 broken dried red chilli
Sauté for 30-60 seconds until the seeds splutter.
3. Add the two chopped and deseeded green chillies (adjust the amount as per your taste and heat levels) Stir for 1-2 minutes. Sauté until the dal turns golden (be careful not to burn it). Add curry leaves (1 sprig) and sauté for a minute more. Also add 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger and fry until it turns aromatic, for about 30 seconds.
4. Now add ¾ cup of chopped onions. Mix to combine and stir fry until onions turn transparent.
5. Add ¼ to ⅓ cup of deseeded and chopped tomatoes along with ¼ teaspoon of turmeric and ⅓ teaspoon of salt. Adjust salt as per your preference. Stir and cook the onion-tomato mixture for a minute.
6. Cover and cook until the tomatoes turn slightly soft for 5-8 minutes.
Make besan slurry
7. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the besan paste. Add 3 tablespoons of besan or gram flour to a bowl. Pour half cup of water and mix well to form a slurry.
8. Whisk well to make sure there are no lumps left.
9. Add the rest of the water (2½ cups) and mix well to a smooth consistency.
10. It should look something as shown in the picture.
11. When the tomatoes are well cooked and soft, add the gram flour (besan) mixture to the pan. Mix well to combine.
12. Increase the heat to high and bring gravy to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low, and cover with lid. Cook for 9-10 minutes, or until the Bombay chutney becomes thick, and yet is of pourable consistency. The cooking time will differ based on your pan and stove heat.
13. Open the lid and taste test. It should not have raw taste. If it is still raw, pour bit more water and cook longer. Add more salt or spice (green chili), if required. Turn off the heat, cover and let it rest for a few minutes.
14. Squeeze in 1-1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well.
15. Add the 2 tablespoons of finely chopped coriander leaves.
Sserve this delicious Bombay chutney with dosa, rava idli, poori, chapati, roti or paratha.
- Use fresh besan or gram flour. Stale flour will lead to lumps being formed while you’re making the slurry. It also tastes bitter and the raw flavor won’t go away soon.
- Mix the slurry well, else you’ll end up with uncooked bits of flour in the chutney.
- Adjust the amount of green chili according to your tolerance for heat.
- Serve the chutney when its warm. It tends to thick as it sits on the counter. Add hot water to thin it out, if required.
Bombay chutney is a quick and delicious side made with gram flour, spices and herbs. It is usually served as a side in Restaurants with poori, dosa, rava idli and many breakfast foods. It can also be served with roti or chapati.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add mustard, cumin, urad dal, chana dal and red chilies.
Saute until the dal turns golden. Add curry leaves and green chilies. Saute for a minute.
Add ginger and fry until aromatic for about 30 seconds.
Add onions and stir fry until transparent. Add tomatoes, turmeric and salt.
Saute for a minute. Cover and cook until tomatoes turn slightly soft.
Meanwhile in a bowl mix together half cup water with 3 tbsps of besan. Whisk well until no lumps remain. Then pour the rest of the water and mix.
When the tomatoes turn soft, pour the besan mixture to the pan.
Bring it to a rolling boil on a high heat and turn down the heat. Cover and cook until Bombay chutney becomes thick and is of pouring consistency. This takes about 9 to 10 mins depending on the kind of your pan & flame.
Open the lid and taste test. Add more salt if required. Turn off the heat, cover and rest for few minutes.
Before serving squeeze in some lemon juice and add coriander leaves. Mix and serve Bombay chutney with dosa, poori, roti, chapati, rava idli and paratha.
- Taste test your gram flour before using. Use fresh flour and avoid if it is stale or bitter tasting.
- You can add 1 boiled potato or green peas, chopped bell peppers and carrots too in this recipe.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Vitamin A 292IU6%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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