SEEMA Cooks: Spicy, Sweet, Tangy, Tomato Chutney

Sep/03/2021 / by Malathy Chandrasekhar
tomato chutney
Sweet and Tangy Tomato Chutney
Image courtesy of Malathy Chandrasekhar

Spicy, Sweet, Tangy, tomato Chutney has all those flavors and more! If I must pick one chutney, I use the most, I mean literally like every other day, this is the one. While I love all kinds of chutneys, this one pairs with so many dishes, I simply must have it handy all the time.


Chutney Vs Pickles

In general, we refer to chutneys as those meant to be fresh, in Indian cuisine. These are consumed within a week, at the very latest. Made from fresh ingredients, they taste great when freshly made. South Indian meals typically include at least a couple of fresh chutneys. Pickles on the other hand are made to last longer because of how they are prepared. The famous mango pickled ‘avakaya,’ for instance, is made from green mango which is first sun dried to dehydrate it. It is then cured with mustard, chili powder, salt and oil. Set in airtight jars, it can last for more than a year in the pantry! I leave mine in the fridge and it tastes great for up to two years.


The Dish

Undoubtedly, the spicy, sweet, tangy tomato chutney is one of my top chutneys! This recipe needs nice ripe tomatoes, some green chilies and cilantro. The dry ingredients include mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chili powder, jaggery and salt. Instead of powdered white cane sugar we use jaggery to bring in a touch of sweetness to the pickle. Jaggery is digested and absorbed gradually. It releases energy over an extended period. It also brings its own unique flavor to the food.



The good thing about this recipe is that it is almost like a cross between chutney and pickle. The reason I say this is because tomatoes are cooked for a long time and therefore reducing moisture to a minimum. This helps it stay good in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. I use this chutney as a spread, as a side with several recipes, such as cracked wheat veggie upma, and vegetable multigrain khichdi, or as part of my meal along with dal, veggies and steamed rice. It goes great with snacks like cabbage wada and masala wada. My latest favorite, especially for picnic lunches while hiking, is toasted sourdough with tomato chutney spread, topped with sliced hard-boiled egg, tomato, and cucumber. It is delicious!


Why Is This Healthy?

Tomatoes are an excellent source vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum and vitamin K. They are also a very good source of copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). The great thing is that tomatoes do not lose their nutritional value when cooked. Cilantro and fenugreek seeds further enhance the nutritional value. In short, the tomato chutney is just as good for you as it is tasty!


The Recipe

The spicy, sweet, tangy tomato chutney is an explosion of flavors! It makes for a great side with a number of dishes, like the above mentioned cracked wheat vegetable upma and khichdi, or uthappam. Try it as a spread on your toast or pizza. You’ll love it!

Special diet: Gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves: 18

Calories: 60kcal




  • 2 cups tomato, large pieces
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 peppers green chili pepper, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp jaggery, powdered
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind (optional)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil




  1. Cut tomatoes, cilantro, chili peppers (in half).
  2. Set mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chili powder, jaggery, salt and tamarind aside in a bowl. The tamarind is optional.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to ‘sauté’ mode. Sauté mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds in half a teaspoon of oil for a minute.
  4. Transfer them to blender, then add tamarind paste, salt, chili powder and jaggery, and blend to a fine powder.
  5. Set blended powder aside.
  6. Add a quarter cup oil to the Instant Pot. Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili peppers, tamarind and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Set lid, set the Instant Pot on ‘steam’ mode for 3 minutes. This will soften the tomatoes.
  8. Set the pot back on ‘sauté’ mode, and keep adding the rest of the oil and keep stirring till the moisture evaporates, and the oil starts kicking out. Now add the blended spices and mix well. You’ll need the excess oil to keep the chutney from drying up.
  9. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
  10. Mix well and let it cool. Transfer to a dry glass bottle (make sure the bottle is absolutely dry since any moisture can encourage mold).
  11. Seal tight and store it in refrigerator.
  12. Serve your freshly made tomato chutney with your favorite snacks!



Great as a spread on toasted bread, pizza topping, tastes awesome with Cabbage Wada, Cracked Wheat Veggie Upma, or Vegetable Multigrain Khichdi.

* Use organic ingredients wherever possible

For the full recipe, go here!

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