Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Onion Chutney (Ulli Gadda Pacchadi)

This onion chutney is very popular in North Karnataka and also in our Raayala Seema region. Rural in origin and a favorite of hard working people and farmers, this chunky, saucy, sort-of-sweet, sort-of-spicy chutney tastes terrific with rotis, both wheat and jowar and also with rice.

(for two, for one serving)

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 big red onion – cut to big chunks
5 dried red chillies
1 tablespoon grated coconut (fresh or dried)
Small piece of jaggery – powdered (sugar won’t work in this recipe)
Cherry tomato sized tamarind – Presoaked in very little water (one tablespoon is plenty) for about 15 minutes, so that it can grind well.
Salt to taste

Onion is the main ingredient in this chutney; so don’t skimp on the onion. If you have small onions, use two or three, and red onions or shallots are the best for this recipe. At Nandyala, we make it with erra gaddalu (shallots here).

Red Onion, Coconut Powder, Jaggery, Red Chillies and Tamarind - Ingredients for Onion Chutney

Place an iron skillet on stove-top. Add oil, swirl to coat the pan. When the oil reaches smoking point, add chunks of onion. Saute them to soft brown on high heat stirring frequently. Remove them to a plate, then add the dried red chillies. Saute them to brown. Remove to a plate. Allow them to cool to room temperature. Texturewise and tastewise, this is important. Go, sit down and wait.

When they are cool enough to touch, take the red chillies, coconut, jaggery, tamarind and salt in a mortar or in a food processor. Pound or blenduntil the red chillies are smooth. Then add the onion pieces. Pulse few times to coarse consistency. Do not puree the onions, we do not want that. They should be coarsely crushed like shown in the image below. Stone mortar really comes to a great use for this kind of recipe and I made this chutney in a stone mortar for todays meal.

Remove to a cup and serve with rice or chapati and dal.

Onion Chutney, Red Onion Chutney (Ulli gadda Pacchadi)
Red Onion Chutney and Sona Masuri Rice mixed with Chutney ~ Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Jaggery,Onions (Thursday December 1, 2005 at 7:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (20)

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20 comments for Onion Chutney (Ulli Gadda Pacchadi) »

  1. The chutney and rice look terrific. I make vengaya chutney the same way except I don’t add coconut and jaggery. I agree red onion is the best for any recipe! I will try your way next time.

    Comment by mika — December 1, 2005 @ 8:55 pm

  2. Indira, I love the way you tell us (by a link) what the ingredients are that we may not know. I’m learning a lot.

    Comment by Kalyn — December 1, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

  3. I’ve never heard of this this. Would be nice to just do for one person when, one doesnt feel like cooking.

    A question [not for myself. rather for non-indians. 🙂 ]: Instead of Jaggery, what will happen if I use dark brown sugar?

    A question for myself: Have you ever used Palm sugar(panai vellam in Tamil)? If so, would appreciate any recipes..

    You didnt post for two days. 🙁 And it made me realise how much of an addiction your blog is. 🙂


    Comment by Mathy — December 1, 2005 @ 9:44 pm

  4. Hi Indira,

    In Kerala we call ulli for the onions. I am not sure it is the sameway you call in Hyderbad. This is one my fav chutney. I add onion, tamarind , redchillies, little of celentro and salt. I have never tried with coconut. May be next time I should try with coconut.

    I just started my blog. It is a best way to my kill time .

    Indira says…
    Priya.. congratulations on the blog. Looking forward to learning from you. Will visit first thing, tomorrow morning.
    Yep, we call onions ‘ulli’ in Telugu. I didn’t know that they are also called ‘ulli’ in Malayaalam.

    Comment by Priya — December 1, 2005 @ 10:36 pm

  5. Mika.. my mother makes vankaaya pacchadi same way, you mentioned. I like it but never tried with eggplant avilable here. I don’t think I am going to try it anytime soon, too. Little bit afraid of the taste:)

    Kalyn.. I am meaning to visit your site and thank you for the nice things you wrote about my ‘Indian Kitchen’ and also for the link. Thank You!
    I am glad that you find the links useful.

    Mathy.. I took a sabbatical from my blog. Thanks for your kind words. Blogs are addictive, aren’t they?
    Do you know that dark brown sugar is more processed than white sugar? Google search offers lot of information, if you are interested. I know about palm sugar but never used it in my cooking. I always stock up the Jaggery and can’t accept any other taste.
    Jaggery offers something extra in addition to sweetness to a recipe. What’s that extra, you have to find it yourself, really. I don’t know how to describe the taste.

    Comment by Indira — December 1, 2005 @ 10:40 pm

  6. Hi Indira

    I happened to see your site 2 days back and since then I must confess that I have started revering you.I personaly feel there is a pinch of sisterly love in all your recipes that make it unique for Indians like me who live away from their home.Being inspired by your work I want to begin a blog myself soon.

    Comment by Krithika — December 2, 2005 @ 7:18 am

  7. I liked that rice ball infused with onion sweet pachadi Indira. It looks so yummy!

    It brought back the loving memories of my grandma. Dining with her used to be a real pleasure activity for us kids. We never used to have any serving plates. We used to sit down at floor in a semi circle around her and she used to make rice balls like this one out of a big vessel mixing curries, sides, whateever is available all together using her hands and distribute those to our palm one by one. Have you heard about or seen this old custom of eating? 🙂

    On the recipe again, we think sugar is also just fine. We make it with sugar. Also instead of dry coconut, we use fresh ones. We will be trying it in your way next time when we make it. Also, we will let you know. Cheers!

    For non-vegans out there, this ulli chutney is excellent with mutton biriyani 🙂

    Indira says…
    Hi VK, my mom used to do that when we were children, during summer nights, up on the ‘dhaba’. It’s like eating amrutha muddalu, my favorite way of eating rice, dal and chutney.
    Yep, fresh coconut, lightly toasted tastes even great in this recipe, only problem is we don’t get good quality coconuts here.

    Comment by VK Narayanan — December 2, 2005 @ 8:21 am

  8. Hi Krithika,
    That’s the nicest compliment ever written about my blog, thanks for your kind words.
    Looking forward to reading your blog. Let me know when you launch.

    Comment by Indira — December 2, 2005 @ 8:23 am

  9. this is exactly how my mom makes and the way mika has mentioned too.. whenever i call up from here to ask for her recipes .. she doesnt give the exact quantity .. she just tells 1 onion, little chilli, some salt.. and i always goof up.. from ur recipe i bet i’ll be able to do it well .. thanx for the recipe.
    Congrats priya on ur blog, i came to know of it this morning as i usually start my day with Indira’s blog ( mahanandhi).hope to see some nice things in ur post too..

    Comment by priya,ar — December 2, 2005 @ 10:08 am

  10. Ulli Pachadi recipe baagundi,Indira.I never make ulli pachadi with eddu kobari.Aa muddalu entha muchaatagaa unnaayo..:):)
    Amma used to feed us pappu annam muddalu too..)
    You inspire me and agree 100% with krithika’s comment about your food having that very very warm touch…call it sisterly love.Btw thanks so much for dropping by and appreciating my dosa pictures..:)

    Indira says…
    Thanks Sailaja. Meeru chaala manchiga raastunnaru mee blog lo. Roju vachhi chustunnanu.

    Comment by Sailaja — December 3, 2005 @ 6:28 am

  11. Hi Indira,

    Am I right that one of the staples of Andhra home food is some sort of chutney with rice? I guess this chutney would go really well with dosas, pesarattus and the likes. How long do you think this can be stored in the fridge?

    Indira says…
    Hi GM, you are right about that. This particular chutney tastes really great with rice and dal or sambhar/rasam. This is one of the fresh kind of pacchadi/chutney, that you eat immediately with rice. We usually don’t prepare it in large quantities, just enough for that meal or day. That’s it. I don’t think it stores well in the refrigerator because of onion.

    Comment by GaramMasala — December 4, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

  12. i tried this yday and was great except that it was a little hot. My dad would love this ulli pacchadi, he loves anything to do with onions.thanx for the recipe

    Comment by priya,ar — December 14, 2005 @ 12:14 pm

  13. I am happy to see a web site with my birth place name. Wishing you Lord Mahanandeshar’s blessings.

    anand kumar reddy

    Comment by anand — August 30, 2006 @ 3:53 pm

  14. […] Indira’s […]

    Pingback by Onion Chutney | AzMz — June 12, 2007 @ 6:02 am

  15. hi.sure is a great site for yummy recipes esp. 2 a homesick hyderabadi like me living it out in lagos–nigeria. mind u can understand telugu but am out of touch. lkng frwd 2 hearing frm u. sonali.

    Comment by sonali lokur — August 15, 2007 @ 7:21 am

  16. I am just a little bit confused here. Should we put the (already) chopped onions into the grinder and grind it alongwith other items. If we do this, won’t the onions get completely mashed? If we just pulse this, then chillies will not get ground, right? I am sorry, I am very new to cooking and also to Andhra recipes. Please let me know, what I should do. Thank you.

    Indira replies:
    Hi Arathi, I added details to the recipe. Please check it out and hope that answers your question. If you have doubts about this recipe, please do not hesitate to comment.
    Good luck and happy cooking.

    Comment by Arathi — August 23, 2007 @ 10:42 am

  17. When we were in India, we used to go to Nandini restaurant (in Bangalore) and adore Andhra food. We thought that was the best place where we could get Andhra food. After coming here we were missing Andhra food so much. But now, I know it is very easy to prepare and tastes better when made at home.

    Your recipes are simply SUPERB. And better than what we used to eat in Nandini.

    Comment by Arathi — August 23, 2007 @ 11:34 am

  18. Thank you so much. I bought Red onions today. I will prepare this chutney tomorrow.

    Comment by Arathi — August 23, 2007 @ 9:51 pm

  19. its simply superb….

    Comment by anish — October 15, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  20. Very nice. Nice to see the picture. I will prepare this today itself. Thanks

    Comment by rama — September 5, 2010 @ 8:09 am

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