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Vara Milagai Chutney (Chettinad Spicy Red chili chutney)

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Vara Milagai Chutney or Chettinad Vara Milagai Thuvayal is a spicy red dry chili chutney from the Chettinad Cuisine perfect as a side for your Idli, Sada Dosa or as an accompaniment to your main meals.

This Spicy red chili chutney is a simple chutney with basic ingredients and can be made in just max 30 minutes at the most. If you are looking for a chutney without coconut this chutney is one of the best coconut free chutney recipes. 

A little about Chettinad Cuisine

Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, a state in South India. The cuisine is famous for its spicy dishes. It uses a variety of spics and dishes are made with fresh ground masalas. The cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. 

So this month when Kalyani from Sizzling Tastebuds asked us to make a dish from Chettinad cuisine, I wanted to make something simple, quick but at the same time which is versatile.  Simple and quick, because it is summer here and I am really pressed on time with everything going around, my job, home, gardening, blog and kids summer vacations. 

Wanted to make Chettinad Beetroot Kola Urundai but that has to wait a bit longer. I thought I was going to miss it but when Mayuri, my Co-admin of this group, said you still have time and can make something, I decided to make this Chettinad Vara Milagai Thuvayal.

I did not have a partner for this challenge. If you all follow my blog, this challenge involves 2 to work, by giving each other secret ingredients. So Mayuri di voted to give me the secret ingredients and she made this delicious Chettinad Urulai Roast | Potato Roast. Another lip-smacking potato recipe from her blog, which I would definitely love to try. She gave me oil and garlic and I made this fiery hot, Vara Milagai Chutney. 

Now there are many different recipes for this Vara Milagai Chutney. Few use tomatoes and few do not. Few of the recipes do the tempering once and some do twice. Now I am not saying this might be the traditional recipe, but based on search, I feel it is pretty close. I did check a couple of recipes and used a combination of different ones. 

Close up look of Spicy Red chili chutney served in a bowl along with some millet idlis on the side.

Gingelly oil for Vara Milagai chutney

Gingelly oil or sesame oil is being used for this chutney. I would recommend to use this vegan oil only and not swap it with vegetable oil as it really enhances the flavor. However if you cannot source it you can replace it with vegetable oil.

Onions or Shallots

Few of the recipes use big onions, but I see that the shallots are the typical ones used. I was keen to make this, as I had my fresh garden shallots and organic tomatoes from my garden.  

Chili used

I am using a combination of Spicy red chili and Kashmiri red chili. The small round red chili gives it desired hot levels and the kashmiri red chili adds to colour.  

First Tempering

So the chutney recipe is pretty simple. I first did a tempering of urad dal, mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion and garlic. 

Ingredients 1

Adding Tomatoes to Chutney

Once they are translucent, tomatoes are added. Tomatoes are cooked well until they turn soft and mushy. Tomatoes are added here to bring down the spice level of the chutney. Also I read that to get that perfect red color cook your tomatoes well. A small piece of tamarind is added and cooked along. 

Ingredients 2

Second Tempering

Next the mixture is allowed to cool and grinded to a smooth paste. Again a tempering of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves is done. Chutney mixture is added and cooked for 4-5 minutes until the mixture starts releasing oil on the sides. That’s it, the chutney is ready to enjoy.

Shelf life of Vara Milagai Chutney

This chutney should stay good for 1 week or more in the refrigerator with proper hygiene conditions maintained. Oil here does act as a preservative and if you want to keep the chutney for a week do not reduce the amount of oil.  

Dietary requirements

This chutney is vegan, diary-free, gluten-free and nut-free.

Few more chutney recipes on my blog

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Close up look of Spicy Red chili chutney served in a bowl

Recipe Card

Close up look of Spicy Red chili chutney served in a bowl

Vara Milagai Chutney (Chettinad spicy red dry chili chutney)

Vara Milagai Chutney is a spicy red dry chili chutney from the Chettinad Cuisine perfect as a side for your Idli, Dosa or to your main meals.
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Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Keyword: Chilli, Chutney, Red Chilli
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 Cup
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 5-6 shallots roughly chopped
  • 18-20 Spicy red chili
  • 2-3 Kashmiri Red chili
  • 3-4 small size garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece of tamarind
  • 1 medium sized tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Gingelly oil
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split black gram – urad dal
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required.

Second Tempering

  • 1 tablespoon Gingelly oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves

Instructions

  • In a heavy bottom pan add 2 tablespoons of Oil.
    2 tablespoon Gingelly oil
  • Once hot, add the mustard seeds, let it splutter.
    1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    Tempering of mustard seeds
  • Add black gram and curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.
    8-10 curry leaves, 1 teaspoon split black gram
    Tempering of mustard seeds, black gram dal and curry leaves
  • Now add the shallots, garlic and saute until it is translucent.
    5-6 shallots roughly chopped, 3-4 small size garlic cloves roughly chopped
    Adding of Onions and garlic
  • Cook the shallots and garlic well.
  • Once done add in the red chili and tamarind and cook for a minute or two.
    18-20 Spicy red chili, 2-3 Kashmiri Red chili, 1 inch piece of tamarind
    Adding of Red chillies
  • Now add the tomatoes and cook on low until the tomatoes are nicely done.
    1 medium sized tomatoes roughly chopped
    Adding of Tomatoes
  • Once done, switch off and let the mixture cool completely.
    Cooked Mixture
  • Add Salt and puree this to a smooth paste. Add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, if required.
    Salt to taste, Water as required.

Second Tempering

  • In a pan add oil.
    1 tablespoon Gingelly oil
  • Once hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
    1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    Tempering of mustard seeds
  • Now add the curry leaves and fry for 10-15 seconds.
    8-10 curry leaves
    Second Tempering
  • Add the chutney paste and let the mixture cook on low for 5-7 minutes stirring in between.
    Chutney pasted being added to tempering
  • The chutney is done when the mixture starts releasing oil on the edges.
    Ready Chettinad Vara Milagai Thuvayal
  • Switch off and let it cool.
  • To store, let it cool completely and store it in a clean and sterile jar.

Notes

  • Standard US Size cups and spoons used.
  • The measurements are a rough guide, one can change a little as per preference.
 
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Recipe Rating




Priya Iyer

Wednesday 7th of September 2022

This is such a delicious chutney, a favourite at our place too. It comes in handy when there are no vegetables in the fridge.

Love the gorgeous red colour of your chutney!

Poonam Bachhav

Wednesday 24th of August 2022

This chettinad spicy red chutney looks fiery hot, exactly the way I love..can't wait to give it a try.

Priya Vj

Wednesday 17th of August 2022

Varamilagai chutney is a wonderful chutney that pairs well with dosas idlis especially the Kuzhipaniyarams and idiyappms . Love the melange of flavors with smal onions and dry red chillies with all the tadka

Narmadha

Monday 15th of August 2022

This is one of my favorite chutney to go with hot idli/dosa. Your post is tempting me to make it immediately and enjoy it.

Radha

Monday 15th of August 2022

Amazing chutney! This is great with idli or dos. We make it without onions and tomatoes, but I would love to try this version too. This chutney is perfect for kara dosa.