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Tirunelveli Salna for Parotta - Empty Salna for Parotta and Chapathi

Salna - this flavorful gravy is a super side dish for parotta that everyone will like it. Last year tasted this salna with parotta in a hotel in Tirunelveli. The gravy in this salna has a blend of flavours from the spices. The onions and tomatoes are sauted with ginger garlic paste and slowly simmered in the coconut masala paste for 20 minutes, allowing time to blend everything together. 

How to make Tirunelveli Salna

To prepare this salna, these are the ingredients you will need

1. Ginger garlic paste - these two are the key for adding flavour. For salna, we have to add a good amount of ginger garlic paste when compared to other gravies. Try to use homemade fresh ginger garlic paste for this salna.

2. Onions, tomatoes and green chillies - these three are the main ingredients for any gravies. I have used both sliced tomato and ground tomato for this salna, as it gives a beautiful colour and taste for the gravy. 

3. Chilly powder, coriander powder and garamasala powder - these three are the star ingredients for the gravy. For gravies like kurma and salna, I always prefer normal red chilly powder rather than Kashmiri chilly powder. You can use anyone as you like. For garamasala powder, depending on which brand you use, you may need to add more or use less quantity since some brands have more flavour. 

4. Coconut masala paste - this coconut masala paste gives the salna a delicious taste and lingering flavour. Fresh coconut, fennel, peanuts, poppy seeds and cashew nuts are the ingredients for this masala. Cashew nuts, poppy seeds and peanuts give the salna a nice, rich consistency. For most gravy dishes, we use cashew nuts as a thickener, but here both cashew nuts and peanuts are added. They both give a distinct flavour also. 

Tips to make perfect Salna

  1. As I told in my mushroom salna post, I prefer the pressure cooker for preparing salna. If you are preparing it in a kadai, simmer the gravy for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  2. Once adding all the ingredients, reduce heat and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. Allow the pressure to settle down naturally and then open the pressure cooker. When you open the pressure cooker, you can see oil specks on the top of the gravy. 
  3. Adjust the thickness of the salna by adding more water to thin, if required.Do not increase the cashews and peanuts because the gravy will get thicker and you will miss the consistency.  I have added all the spices in minimal amount, you can add according to your taste buds.

Similar Recipes

Here is a short video for Tirunelveli Salna

Tirunelveli Salna for Parotta Recipe Details

Prep time : 20 minutes
Cook time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4
Category : side dish
Author : Muthulakshmi Madhavakrishnan


  • 1 onion
  • 4 tomato
  • 2 green chilly
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp chilly powder
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp garamasala powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • few mint leaves
  • few coriander leaves
  • few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp urid dal
    2 small piece cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 star aniseed
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste

For coconut masala paste

  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 2 tbsp broken cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1.5 tsp fennel

Preparation Works

Cut the onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Grind ginger and garlic cloves with little water. Grind 4 tomatoes without water.

Cooking Directions

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. You can also cook in a deep kadai but in pressure cooker it preserves the flavour nicely. Certain dishes like salna are suited to cook pressure cooker perfectly. When the oil is heated enough, add the spices one by one. When you get a nice aroma from the spices, add finely chopped onions and green chillies. 

Saute well on medium heat.Next, add the ginger garlic paste and saute well on medium heat. Do not brown them. As I told in many dishes, try to use fresh homemade ginger garlic paste for kurma and salna. 

Add the chopped tomato and curry leaves. Sauté until it turns soft. 

Now add the ground tomato and saute for another few minutes.

Next, add the red chilly powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well.

Grind the coconut, cashew nuts, peanuts, poppy seeds and fennel seeds with little water. For salna dishes, no need to add more coconut as we do for kurma. Also do not increase the cashew and peanuts because salna will turn thick. 

Now add the ground coconut paste and mix well. 


Add required salt and water for the salna. Add garamasala powder and mix well. Close it with a lid. 


Pressure cook for 2 whistles. Do not hurry up. Allow the pressure to settle down naturally. Open the pressure cooker and add sugar, mint leaves and coriander leaves. Allow the salna to boil again for a minute and turn off the heat. Close it with a lid for 20 minutes and then transfer it to the serving dish.

Tirunelveli Salna is ready to serve.


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