Onion Coconut Chutney

This chutney is inspired by the super delicious chutney served in Guest Hotel, Chennai. This small, old restaurant has been a family favourite for years. It’s one of our go-to eateries for breakfast. If I am being completely honest with you, they serve three delicious chutneys, which is the real lure!

The chutney trio includes coriander-coconut, coconut and onion variants. Each delicious and very complementary to the restaurant’s tiffin menu. Unlike many popular chains, they are generous with the condiments. So much so, they leave the condiments on the table for you to help yourself to your heart’s content; they even refill it without any complaints!

Of the trio, it’s the onion chutney that gets refilled the most. Hands down, the best chutney I have ever tasted. Being a Tamilian and chutney fiend, I assure you I’ve tasted a lot of chutneys in very many combinations and feel qualified enough to make that claim. Now, coming back to the said chutney…I haven’t asked the kind wait staff for the recipe but can guess a bit of what may have gone into it.

Since moving out of India, I have not had the pleasure of enjoying this lip-smacking chutney regularly. I even forgot about the chutney’s existence! The past few weeks, I have been soaking up on nostalgia. Surprise, surprise food experiences from Chennai was part of the trip down memory lane. Just like that, I found myself craving the Guest Hotel onion chutney.

So, I got cracking one day to make the chutney based on lingering memory. In the interest of full disclosure, I had my heart’s fill of my favourite tiffin at the Hotel when I went to Chennai in March. Let’s say the memory didn’t need much jogging!

In the pursuit of achieving Guest Hotel Onion Chutney perfection, I have since ditched making the classic coconut chutney! True story. We are now relishing Onion Coconut Chutney and loving it!

I still haven’t managed to master that flavour, but I will get there. So, here is my very deeply inspired version of the chutney. It’s a delicious change from the classic coconut chutney for dosai and idlies. The onion coconut chutney is a jazzed-up version of its classic variant and is a crowd pleaser.

Scoop some of this chutney with soft idly or crispy dosai or mix it with hot rice and sesame oil. Whichever way you choose to consume the chutney, it will make your meal extra yummy!

PS: If I ever master the same taste as the restaurant or get my hands on the recipe I promise to update the recipe.

Serves: 5


  • Fresh grated coconut – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 medium, chopped roughly
  • Garlic (optional) – 4 cloves
  • Kashmiri chilli powder (optional) – 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp.
  • Dried red chillies – 7 to 10
  • Oil – 1.5 tsp.
  • Water – To grind
  • Salt – As required

To Temper:

  • Oil – 1 tspn
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
  • Dried red chillies – 2
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch


  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add the garlic and onion.
  3. Cook until they are soft.
  4. Add the grated coconut and dried chillies. Mix well.
  5. Add the spice powders and salt.
  6. Mix to combine the ingredients.
  7. Allow the coconut to cook for 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Once done, turn off the stove.
  9. Keep aside and let the mixture cool.
  10. Transfer the chutney mix into a mixer jar.
  11. Add water and grind until smooth.
  12. At this stage, add more water if you want to thin down the chutney.
  13. Transfer into a clean container. Keep aside.

To Temper:

  1. Heat oil in a small pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  3. On low flame, add the dried red chillies and curry leaves.
  4. Turn off the flame and add the asafoetida.
  5. Pour the tempering on top of the chutney.
  6. Mix well and serve with hot idlies or dosai.


  1. Add or adjust quantities to suit your taste.
  2. I like my chutney spicy and have added a little extra chilli. Reduce or add chillies according your spice tolerance.
  3. I have had the chutney without the tempering, and it tastes just as amazing. That said, the tempering adds a nice little crunch.
  4. No fresh coconut? Frozen coconut works just as well. Just thaw it and use it as recommended in the recipe.
  5. To add a bit of tang, add a small ball of tamarind soaked in water while grinding.
  6. You could make this chutney low-carb or keto compliant by adjusting the onion quantity and swapping cooking oil for coconut or olive oil.


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  6. Absolutely fantastic chutney! The only thing that beats the taste is how good this photo looks! Truly well done.

  7. Suresh Ramanathan

    I tried this Chutney today. It came out very well. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Suresh Ramanathan

    Lip snacking chutney. Really, great tribute to Guest Hotel Chutney varieties they serve, but this onion Chutney is awesome.
    Picture perfect presentation .

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