Tomatillo Chutney| Mexican Husk Tomato Chutney

Tomatillo Chutney is a flavourful dip, South Indian style. It is a unique chutney made with the tomatillo fruit, a nice change from the usual varieties of chutneys we make regularly. I served it with idlis and dosas, and my family loved it to bits.

Read on to know more about the tomatillo and how to make this chutney.

Yummy Tomatillo Chutney

Tomatillos are not green tomatoes!

Native to Mexico, the tomatillo refers to a small green fruit enclosed in a papery husk. Also called ‘Mexican Tomatoes’ or ‘Mexican Husk Tomatoes’, tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked. They are very sour, and cooking helps in reducing their tartness to some extent.

Tomatillos are quite a commonly used ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but not very easy to come across in India. When I found them at Namdhari’s some time ago, I knew I had to get them home to experiment. I was thrilled with the Tomatillo Chutney I made with some of the fruit – other experiments are underway!

How pretty are these tomatillos!

Tomatillos might look like small green tomatoes, but both are different. Tomatillos come with a husk which needs to be removed and discarded, while that is not so in case of tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes are green, and they turn red upon ripening – however, tomatillos continue to stay firm and green even when they ripen. Tomatillos are more tart than tomatoes, too. From what I have read and understood, both tomatoes and tomatillos belong to the same family, though.

Ingredients used in Tomatillo Chutney

I have prepared this Tomatillo Chutney on the lines of the Green Tomato Chutney that is popular in Andhra Pradesh. It needs just a few ingredients and is very simple to make, but turns out very delicious. I will also share the recipe for the Andhra-style Green Tomato Chutney on my blog soon.

Tomatillos are the star ingredient of this chutney. To even out their tartness, I have used onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Some jaggery has also been used.

A handful of fresh coriander is added in, to perk up the colour of the chutney as well as for extra flavour.

I kept the tempering for this Tomatillo Chutney simple – just some mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves.

Tomatillo Chutney recipe

Here’s how I made it.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1. 4 tomatillos

2. 1 medium-sized onion

3. A 1-inch piece of ginger

4. 4 cloves of garlic

5. 2 green chillis

6. A handful of fresh coriander

7. 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon of oil

8. Salt to taste

9. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

10. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

12. 1 sprig of curry leaves


Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left: Step 3, Centre right and bottom left: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. First, we will prep the tomatillos. Remove the outer husk and discard. Wash the tomatillos well to get rid of the waxy film on them. Then, cut the tomatillos into quarters.

2. Peel the ginger, garlic and onion and chop them up roughly. Chop the coriander and green chillies finely. Keep these prepared ingredients ready.

3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the onions start browning.

4. Add in the chopped tomatillos at this stage, followed by a little salt. Mix well.

5. Add a little water to the pan. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the tomatillos turn mushy.

Left top and bottom: Steps 6 and 7, Right top and centre: Step 8, Right bottom: Step 9

6. Add in the chopped coriander and green chilles at this stage. Mix well. Saute on medium heat for about a minute, then switch off gas.

7. Allow the mixture to cool down completely.

8. When the mixture has cooled down fully, transfer it to a mixer jar. Add in the jaggery and adjust the salt. Add a little more water if needed. Grind to a mostly smooth, slightly coarse chutney. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl.

9. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the chutney. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard, and let it sputter. Add in the asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, then switch off gas. Pour this tempering over the chutney in the serving bowl. Your Tomatillo Chutney is ready to serve, along with idlis, dosas, upma, vadas, rotis and the likes.

Dietary guidelines

This Tomatillo Chutney recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan. It is suited to people following a plant-based diet.

To make this chutney gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour and are, therefore, best avoided when following a gluten-free diet. However, if you find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

This recipe for Tomatillo Chutney contains very little oil and zero coconut. It is made using onions and garlic, but you can also skip these ingredients if you do not prefer adding them (see the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this post for details).

Tips & Tricks

1. Do not use more than the specified number of tomatillos. They are very tart, and this can make the chutney very sour. It is for this reason that no tamarind or other souring agents are used in the making of this chutney.

2. Adjust the number of green chillies you use as per personal taste preferences.

3. You may skip the jaggery if you do not prefer using it, but I strongly recommend adding it. The jaggery rounds off the other flavours beautifully.

4. If you do not prefer using onion and garlic, you may skip them. However, in that case, you might want to add in about a tablespoon of peanuts and some sesame seeds to add some bulk to the chutney and even out the tartness of the tomatillos. A little bit of fresh coconut can also be used.

5. You may add in some mint leaves along with the coriander. This also gives a lovely taste to the chutney.

6. Do not add too much water while grinding the chutney. Add just enough to help in the process of grinding.

7. We prefer keeping this Tomatillo Chutney mostly smooth, only slightly coarse. However, you can keep the texture as per your personal preferences.

8. Sesame oil (‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil) tastes best in this chutney. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other oil of your choice.

9. You may also add in a ripe red tomato, along with the tomatillos. This also adds a beautiful flavour to the chutney.

10. The same kind of chutney can be made using green (unripe) tomatoes. You might have to add in a little tamarind in that case.

11. Any leftover chutney can be transferred to a clean, dry, air-tight box. Refrigerated, it stays for 3-4 days.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


Ragi Semiya Upma| Instant Finger Millet Vermicelli

Ragi Semiya Upma is a delicious and easy-to-make breakfast dish, which is perfect on its own or along with some chutney. It refers to finger millet vermicelli cooked the South Indian way, instantly, without any prior preparation. It works well as a light dinner, too!

Ragi Semiya Upma

The health benefits of millets are well known. If you are thinking of incorporating more millets into your diet, Ragi Semiya Upma is an easy and flavourful way of doing so. It is a filling, hearty and satisfying dish.

You get several brands of ready-to-use ragi vermicelli these days – pick up a couple of packs of these, and putting together this upma is a matter of minutes. Sadly, though, some of these millet vermicelli packs contain refined flour (maida).

Today, let me take you through the process of making Ragi Semiya Upma.

Other recipes using ragi

Looking for other ragi-based recipes? There are a few on my blog, which might interest you. Take a look at my recipes for Ragi Roti, Ragi Onion Dosa, Thai-Style Ragi Vermicelli Salad, and Instant Ragi Kuzhi Paniyaram.

Ingredients used in Ragi Semiya Upma

While more elaborate versions are possible, the Ragi Semiya Upma we make at home is very simple, including only a few ingredients.

We use store-bought dry ragi vermicelli to make the upma. The one from Anil brand (shown in the picture below) works well for us. Ragi vermicelli is quite delicate, and one needs to handle it carefully so as to get the right texture of upma – non-sticky, soft and fluffy (see the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this post for details on how to achieve this).

Anil Ragi Vermicelli, the brand I use

Finely chopped onions are added in, as is a simple tempering of mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves. We use a couple of green chillies for some mild heat. Fresh grated coconut, coriander and lemon juice take the flavour quotient up by several notches.

How to make Ragi Semiya Upma

Here’s how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves about 4):

1. 1 pack of ragi vermicelli, about 180 grams

2. 2 medium-sized onions

3. 2-3 green chillies

4. 2 sprigs of curry leaves

5. 3/4 tablespoon oil

6. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

7. 2 pinches of asafoetida

8. Salt to taste

9. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

10. 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander

11. Juice of 1 small lemon or to taste


Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left: Step 4, Bottom centre and right: Step 5

1. Take the ragi vermicelli in a large vessel. Add in enough cold water to cover it completely. Let it soak for 3 minutes.

2. Once the vermicelli is done soaking, transfer it to a colander. Let all the water drain out.

3. Take water in a steamer and set it on high flame. Grease the steamer plate and keep it ready.

4. In the meantime, peel the onions and chop them finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the curry leaves handy.

5. When the water in the steamer has come to a rolling boil, keep the greased plate inside. Spread the drained ragi vermicelli evenly over the plate. Close the steamer. Let the vermicelli steam on high flame for 5 minutes, then switch off gas.

Top left and centre: Steps 6 and 7, Top right and bottom left: Step 8, Bottom centre and right: Steps 9 and 10

6. After 5 minutes, remove the steamed vermicelli and allow it to cool. When it has cooled down enough for you to touch comfortably, gently fluff it up with your hands.

7. Now, we will start preparing the Ragi Semiya Upma. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them sputter. Add in the asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

8. Add in the chopped onion at this stage. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute for 2-3 minutes or till the onions are cooked.

9. Add the fluffed-up ragi vermicelli to the pan now, along with the slit green chillies. Turn the flame down to low.

10. Add in salt to taste. Mix gently.

Top left and right: Steps 11 and 12, Bottom right: Step 13, Bottom left: Step 14

11. Saute on low flame for just about a minute, then switch off gas.

12. Mix in the fresh grated coconut and finely chopped coriander.

13. Mix in the lemon juice. Your Ragi Semiya Upma is ready.

14. Transfer the upma to serving plates. Serve immediately, on its own or with chutney. This Bangalore Hotel Style Coconut Chutney goes very well with the upma.

Dietary Guidelines

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, suited to people following a plant-based diet.

This upma is not gluten-free because the vermicelli includes refined wheat flour and also because asafoetida has been used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour.

Do check the ingredients listed on the vermicelli package to ensure that they meet your dietary requirements.

I’m no health expert, but know that, considering the numerous health benefits they possess, millets are being touted as a great replacement for wheat and rice. However, if you are planning to consume millets regularly, it would be advisable to consult with a doctor and/or dietician before doing so. This is especially so if you have health issues.

Tips & Tricks

1. There are several brands of ragi vermicelli available in stores these days. I typically use the one from a brand called Anil (not sponsored). I have outlined above the way Anil ragi vermicelli needs to be cooked. If you are using another brand, cook the vermicelli as per the instructions on the package.

2. Do not soak the vermicelli for longer than the specified time or steam it for more than 5 minutes (as specified in the instructions on the package). This might cause the vermicelli to become soggy.

3. Allow the cooked vermicelli to cool down well, before using it to make upma. Using hot vermicelli will make the upma soggy.

4. I have used only onions in this upma. You may add in other vegetables if you so prefer. Carrot and peas are great additions.

5. Do not overcook the ragi vermicelli. Once the onions are cooked, the vermicelli needs to be mixed in on low flame and sauteed for just about a minute. Overcooking causes the vermicelli to turn hard.

6. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.

7. I have used my Prestige Multi-Purpose Kadhai to steam the ragi vermicelli (not sponsored). You can even do the same using idli plates in a pressure cooker, without putting the whistle on.

8. Be generous with the onions – don’t skimp on them. Finely chopped and well-sauteed onions are what gives this upma a lovely flavour.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!