Plain Salna - Not as plain as it seems!

Parotta Salna is a popular dish that is traditionally served with parotta. Salna comes in the list of the few best side-dishes in the South. In Tamil Nadu, you can easily see Salna as the best side-dish for parotta served at various road-side hotels. It is also popular as a side dish served in several street-side hotels in Madurai, Salem, Tuticorin, and Chennai. You will always see a bucket on a table at road-side stalls and hotels serving Salna in it. The other popular names of Salna are Plain Salna, Tomato Salna, Empty Salna, or Chalna. Plain Parotta Salna is a tomato-based masala gravy made without using any vegetable. This is a completely vegetarian recipe. It goes very well with parotta, idli, chapati, dosa, and idiyappam. The Empty Parotta Salna is also used for making kothu parotta. The Plain Parotta Salna recipe is quite easy to make. Its instant recipe can easily be made with a pressure cooker. It gets ready within 30 minutes. The Plain Parotta Salna served with crispy, flaky, and layered wheat parotta of ID foods gives a feel of paradise. When you try this amazing combo meal, you will want to have it again and again.

Plain Salna Info

Prep Time

10 Mins

Cook Time

45 Mins

Total Time

55 Mins




Side dish

Plain Salna Ingredients:

Dry spices:
      • Fennel – 1 tablespoon
      • Cumin – 1 tablespoon
      • Dalchini – 1/2 tablespoon
      • Cardamom – 1
      • Cloves – 2
      • Star anise – 1
      • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tablespoon
      • Chilli powder – 1 tablespoon
      • Coriander powder
      • Salt – as per taste
Other ingredients:
      • Vegetable oil – 2 tablespoon
      • Onion (2 medium) diced in cubes – 1 cup (150 gm)
      • Cashews – 5 to 6
      • Ginger (peeled and roughly chopped) – ½ inch
      • Desiccated coconut – 3 tablespoon
      • Coriander leaves – 1 bunch (finely chopped)
      • Curry leaves – 1 bunch
      • Tomato – 3 medium (1.5 cups or 228 gms), diced in cubes
      • Garlic peeled – 2 cloves
      • 1 cup of water

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Heat a pan, pour 1 tablespoon of oil over it at low-medium heat.
  • After the oil gets hot, add the tablespoon of fennels seeds, 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds, ½ tablespoon of dalchini, cloves, and cardamom. Stir it for another few seconds till the aroma fills the air.
  • Add onion, ginger, garlic, and cashews as mentioned above. Stir it for 5 minutes and let it cook till the onion gets translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and let it cook for 5 minutes till they become soft and mushy. Don’t cook it for long as we need to grind the mixture at the end anyways.
  • Turn off the stove and add the three tablespoons of desiccated coconut and cool the mixture till it comes to room temperature.
  • When the mixture cools down, transfer the same to a blender and grind till it becomes smooth. You can add little water to grind it smooth.
  • Heat a pan at medium-low and pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over it.
  • Once the oil becomes hot, add the curry leaves and stir the same for a few seconds.
  • Add the resultant paste to the oil and then add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, and salt. Mix everything till all the spices get mixed well with the paste.
  • Add water to the mixture and then mix it again till everything gets combined well.
  • Slow down the heat, add a lid, and let it cook for another 10 to 12 minutes till the gravy reaches the required consistency and releases oil at the surface.
  • Take the lid off, mix the fresh coriander leaves.

Your Plain Salna is ready! Serve the delicious plain Salna hot with parotta, dosa, or idli.