Ulli chammanthi is spicy chutney prepared with pearl onions and red chillies. The chutney is seasoned with coconut oil which gives a unique flavor and taste. Also, adding coconut oil will slightly take away the spiciness in the chutney. Ulli chammanthi is a simple recipe which goes well with dosa, idli, curd rice, kanji (rice gruel) etc. Ulli chammanthi with kappa vevichathu is one of the favorites of every malayali. Ulli means onions and chammanthi is chutney in Malayalam.
Earlier, ulli chammanthi was prepared using a heavy mortar pestle which gives a coarse texture to the chutney with an amazing taste. Drizzling coconut oil to the ground coarse chutney makes it finger licking good!! You can use a mixer grinder too and prepare the chutney.
Shallots/pearl onions are small onions which are very distinct in taste with the regular onions we use in our daily cooking. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin A, C and many other nutrients which are very important to our body. Shallots give a sweet and pungent flavor to the dishes when used in cooking. As per Ayurveda, shallots have a natural cooling property in them which helps in muscle aches, swelling, water retention etc. Shallots are also beneficial in lowering cholesterol, prevents blood clots, reduces diabetes, can improve heart health & can be helpful in obesity too.
Ulli chammanthi is very spicy which is got by red chillies. You can use few byadgi/kashmiri red chillies along with spicy variety chillies too for a bright red color. Pearl onions give a unique taste, so do not replace it with the regular onions. One or two garlic cloves can also be added for a special flavor. Crush pearl onions, red chillies slightly using a mixer. Add little water at intervals and grind it to a semi coarse paste. You can also use a small mortar pestle to grind the ulli chammanthi.
1 cup pearl onions/shallots/sambar onions
3-4 dried red chilli, spicy variety
2 byadgi/kashmiri red chilli
½ tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
Rock salt, to taste
- Peel the outer skin of pearl onions/shallots/sambar onions and rinse them well once. Chop the onions roughly and keep it aside.
- Heat a pan and add ½ tsp coconut oil and fry red chillies for few seconds on a low flame till it changes its color lightly. Red chillies can be dry roasted too.
- Switch off the flame and transfer the roasted red chillies from the pan to a plate. Let it cool for some time.
- In a mixer jar, add jeera/cumin seeds, roasted red chillies and rock salt (as per taste). Pulse it few times to get a coarse powder. Now add roughly chopped pearl onions and grind again to a semi coarse paste by adding little water.
- Alternately, pearl onions can also be fried in coconut oil for few minutes. This gives a different taste to the chutney. You can try both the ways and see which one you like.
- Transfer the ground chutney to a bowl and add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Mix well. Adding coconut oil enhances the flavor, but if you wish can reduce the quantity of coconut oil used here too.
- Store Ulli chammanthi in a clean bowl and it stays fresh at room temperature for 1 or 2 days. For longer shelf life, store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Serve hot & spicy ulli chammanthi as a side dish with kappa/idli/dosa or kanji.
- Ulli chammanthi is spicy chutney. you can adjust red chillies used to suit your spice level.
- Coconut oil enhances the taste of the chutney and also slightly reduce the spiciness.
- You can add little tamarind too for a sour taste. Tamarind balances the spiciness of red chillies. Roast tamarind along with red chillies and grind it as mentioned above.
- Do not grind the chutney to a fine paste. slight coarse texture tastes good.
- Refrigerate ulli chammanthi in an airtight container for a longer shelf life.
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