Vegetarian Chalna


Chalna / Salna is typically a term related to non-veg category, its the watery leftover gravy from any meat curry preparation, mostly mutton or chicken. There isn't a vegetarian version and even if any veggies added to it, its termed as Saagu. Here I've created a vegetarian style salna which tastes pretty decent and could be one good quick gravy for roti / idli / dosai.

Salna / Vegetarian Salna / Sagu / Saagu / Chaaru / Meatless gravy

2 no Onion (roughly chopped)
1 no Tomato (chopped)
2 clove Garlic (crushed)
1 inch Ginger
1 no Green chili (slit open)
3 nos Dry red chili
4 tbsp Coriander seeds
½ tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Fennel seeds
½ tsp Black peppercorn
1 tsp Roasted gram(pottukadalai)
1 no Cinnamon stick (very small)(1/2)
1 no Cardamom
2 nos Cloves
2 stks Coriander leaves
2 tbsp Dry coconut / fresh grated
¼ tsp Mustard (for tempering)
¼ tsp Cumin seeds (for tempering)
10 nos Curry leaves (for tempering)
2 tbsp Oil
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Salt (or to taste)


This recipe can be proceeded in 2 styles depending on your personal preference. Raw will taste slightly different from roasted.. in a good way though and could be a quick whip up. Infact I personally prefer the raw style for my parottas.

Raw Style : Grind (chopped onions + diced tomatoes + ginger + garlic + green chili + dry red chili + corainder seeds + cumin seeds + fennel seeds + black peppercorn + cinnamon + cloves + cardamom + roasted gram + corainder leaves + dry coconut ) all these with 1/4 cup water to fine consistency. Heat oil in a sauce pan, splutter mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Add the blended gravy, turmeric powder and salt. Bring it to one boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes over very low flame until the oil seperated on top. Add water and adjust the consistency depending on your preference. Thick salna goes very well with idli / doasi, watery thin salna for chappati or parotta.

Roasted Style : Heat a 3 tsp of oil and roast each ingredient listed (dry red chili, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorn, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, roasted gram), add chopped onions, green chili, ginger and garlic. Fry these along with the dry spices until brown. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for few minutes or until it turns soft. Finally include the either fresh or dry coconut, coriander leaves and toss. Switch off and let cool completely. Grind this with water to a thin consistency and keep aside. Heat remaining oil, splutter mustard, cumin and curry leaves, add the blended gravy along with turmeric and salt. Bring it to one boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes.


Hosting a party ????  This could be one big handy gravy item for huge parties. This could feed both veg and non-vegetarians. Have simple boild eggs added to the this gravy and serve as a great accompaniment for any biryani or pulav item. Temper with lots of curry leaves for vegetarians or throw in boiled sliced potatoes and decorate with curry leaves.

My son is very picky when it comes to eating boiled eggs, so had to come up with some tricks… like the one shown above, decorated with mustards seeds and thin slice of tomato. Poured in little gravy on top for blondie looks.. and that did brighten up his face.

Yield: Serve 4 adults approx, adjust with water and salt for extra gravy.

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30 comments to Vegetarian Chalna

  • Sumaiya Suhail

    Oh mullai I liked the raw version it came out well.. Thanx for posting excellent recipes..keep posting..

  • Kavitha

    Hi Mullai,
    Could you please recheck your measurement for coriander seeds – 4TBS. Are you sure its 4 TBS instead of 4 tsp?

    I have prepared this recipe twice, both the times it din’t turn out well, which had a strong flavour from coriander seeds.


    • Kavitha,
      It is 4 tablespoons, we need considerable amount of gravy and this helps to yield a thick gravy consistency. I don’t know whether you followed the raw style and guess you didn’t like the raw strong taste. Try the roasted style or you may adjust to suit your taste. Hope this helps. Thanks.

  • Kirthi


    Those who are saying gravy taste bitter, I think they may misunderstood fennel to fenugreek seed. Instead of sombu they are adding venthaiyam….

  • Kirthi

    I have prepared this salna more than 20 times. Whenever I prepare my husband used to appreciate me for preparing an yummy yummy side dish for parota. I used to prepare this gravy for kothu parota. Remaining I will keep it in fridge. Two days after I will make hot and have with parota. You know what,it taste more yummy than first day. Me n my husband will have extra 2 parota that day. We will place the parota in a plate and pour hot hot salna on top and after sometime we will taste it. It will b wabulous…….to extra taste I Will ask my husband to feed me .( he he he…) it taste wonder.

  • rooba

    Thanks for the recipe. And your presentation is good. I was waiting for such a recipe to have a change in my course of dishes.

  • Sri

    This came out wonderfully and my family loved it. Thanks.

  • Abirami

    Hai Mullai, Yesterday i tried to salna with parota. Ellarum ennai paratunanga………thanks..and your egg creation is super….

  • kakisha

    Hi Mullai…
    Today I tried the raw version of this chalna. And it was “Wunderbar” “Toll” “Spitze”……..oh I ran out of english words appreciating your recipes and I tried german :) which means “wonderful” and “great”. It was sooooooo tasty and sooooooo easy. I followed ur recipe to the point. amazing. Muniandi vilas ellam apdi thalli nikanum ponga. Thanks a lot.


    PS: BTW your site is cool with new looks. Keep rocking :)

  • Ambal

    Hi Mullai,

    I tried this vegeterian Chalna yesterday for dinner. The taste was good but it had slightly bitter taste. I guess it was due to the cardomom. Grinding the whole cardomom with the masala gives slightly bitter taste.But my husband liked it very much.



  • HarshDiv

    Dear Mullai, Your recipe was excellent and eye catching! But when I tried, it turned out bitter in taste. Does ginger added in little excess quantity cause bitterness? I guess this should be the mistake I made. Could you let me know, if you have any other suggestions…. Thanks!!!!

    • Mullai

      Hi Harsh,

       Which method did you choose? grinding and cooking all those spices raw could reflect little strong flavour but definitely no chance for bitterness. Again ginger could cause strong sense of taste but will not turn bitter. May be…these measures are little too high for your taste so try cutting down the level you add. Thanks.

      • Raj

        I know this post is super-late. But I hope it helps.

        If you’re based outside India and used yellow or white onions, that could explain the bitterness. The yellow and white onions when ground raw turn rather bitter. They should be sauteed first.

  • Anusundar

    wow! cute eggies…..shall try today. Again Hats off for ur great work..

  • Ron

    chancea illa akka..ungala beat panna mudiyadhu !! ;)

    Hav to try this 2day..


  • jesse

    I made the chalna jus now.. will let u know after my husband has eaten it.

  • m.viji

    recipe nalla irukku, 'Mottai kutty Muttai painan' jora irukkan.So cute good creative,

  • S.Priya

    wat a creative way of presenting the recipes…wow eggs looks awesome…Salna was too tempting..

  • M Divya

    nice salna…for vegetarians…thanks for this gr8 recipe….unga egg idea super…
    Divya Mubarak

  • Arthi Selva

    Very nice mullai, u have got extreme brilliance in presenting the items, Very nice.
    Egg romba cuteah iruku…. Andha eggah pakathula vaichathum, chalnava marandhu eggah dan parthutu irukom…

  • seema

    Classic presentation Mullai….ivlo easy recipe irukka mudiyumaanu theriyala, u r just too good.

  • kaviarun

    Mullai,attractive presentation……twins romba azhaga irukaanga….

  • Sharmilla Saravana

    those eggs look so cute. will try this gravy for sure. looks mouth watering.

  • siji

    Thanks. Will try as u posted.

  • siji

    Mullai, how about adding mushrooms in this gravy? will it work?

    • Mullai

      Siji, you can use potato, brinjal, mushroom and even shallots too. But the whole idea of this chalna is to make it plain…too much of veggie will make it Saagu. Egg and potato mentioned in the recipe is for decorative purpose. Try with plain shallots (sambar vengayam), it will taste awesome. Again mushroom will work but flavour changes. Thanks.

  • Divya Pugazhendy

    Simple and easy preparation! Never thought it could be so easy. And nice decorative eggs!

  • Sivajothi

    egg paapa azaha irukaangal :)

  • Cappuccino

    Perfect Salna and creative egg looks good.

    Have a great day

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