Salna is a tasty, spiced masala gravy that is made with onion & tomato base, coconut, spices and herbs. Salna is commonly made without vegetables & meat and hence also called as Empty Salna. Salna is a great combo with parotta and a popular hotel, street side food truck side dish. Salna recipe presented here with step by step pictures and video.
Salna recipe posted here is a hotel style plain salna that is a must try at home. Salna is usually served in excess over parotta & relished. Salna is the right feed for masala & spice lovers.
Empty Salna, Parotta Salna, Plain Salna, Chalna, Bucket Salna all mean one and the same. Salna is called by different names like the number of ingredients go for this recipe.
However confusion comes with the name – Empty Salna. Generally in non-veg hotels they add meat to make salna flavourful and remove the pieces later. This is done to make salna more flavourful and affordable. Since the meat is removed, they term the gravy as Empty Salna. So a word of caution for people who wish to try Salna at non-veg hotels and a word of attention for people who feel fortunate with meat pieces. Enjoy Salna at home with this hotel style salna recipe!
Salna – Gravy of its own!
Parotta Salna is a popular street food & gravy in hotels at Tamil Nadu. Salna is a gravy of its own and does not resemble Sambar, Kurma, Kuzhambu or any Masala Curry or Vada curry. Salna tints between Kuzhambu & Kurma in taste & found a place in hearts of South India for savouring with parotta. The base of the gravy is made with freshly ground spices along with coconut,onion & tomato. Salna is the solace for people with masala craving & who wants a non-veg flavour in the food. Salna recipe is a bit lengthy process but I assure you to get the exact street side hotel taste, so do try and enjoy!
Salna & Salan
Salna and Salan are different – though the names resemble each other. Salan is a spicy tangy gravy made with mirchi, tamarind & dry coconut while salna does not have them. Salna is a spiced masala gravy with onion, tomato & fresh coconut. Salan is given as an accompaniment for Biryani while Salna accompanies parotta & biryani alike. Invite people who like the tastes of salan to try salna!
The speciality of Salna in hotels is the oil/fat that floats on top. This makes the gravy look more inviting & craving for parotta. I was successful in reproducing it without adding excess oil or fat. The secret is to add less oil at the beginning and add kashmiri chilli powder heated with oil at the final stages to make oil float on top.
Salna Recipe – My memories
Still I remember the salna they served at our college canteen , it was soo yum that we used to visit the canteen even after our lunch to eat parotta…a plate with 2 small parottas costs only 5 Rs with unlimited salna and we used to dunk the parottas into salna and eat it…good old memories. Nowadays, we enjoy salna with readymade wheat parotta.
Salna – Hotel style & Home style
Mittu is a crazy lover of salna but she is very choosy. In most hotels the spices are more and hence the masala flavour dominates in the gravy which she dislikes. So this gave me a chance to try the hotel style salna recipe, it took me several iterations to get the perfect taste and here I am with 2 salna variations – hotel style spiced masala salna and home style mild spicy veg salna with goodness of the veggies& soya.
- Veggies: Onion, tomato & fresh coconut make the base. Use prescribed green chilli for medium spicy salna & add more if you want salna spicier. I have added ginger for digestion & garlic for flavour. Use curry leaves for tempering & coriander leaves for garnishing. You can use veegtables lik potato,peas, carrot, beans etc.
- Spices: Literally all the spices & spice powders are used in making of salna. You can skip if you do not have any one of spices but spice powders are must for hotel style salna.
- Other Ingredients: I have added cashews for taste & thickening the gravy. You can skip cashews and replace it with roasted gram / fried gram as they do in hotels.
Other salna and kurma recipes
Tried this salna recipe? Do let me know how you liked it. Also tag us on Instagram @sharmispassions and hash tag it on #sharmispassions.
To saute and grind:
- 5 nos small onion
- 1 no green chilli
- one 1 inch ginger
- 2 nos garlic
- 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
- 5 nos whole cashews
- 1/4 tsp jeera
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 nos cardamom
- 2 nos cloves
- 1 one inch cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp fried gram dal
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 1 tbsp gingelly oil
- 1 tsp stone flower
- 1 no star anise
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 no no green chilli
- 1 no bayleaf
- few curry leaves
For oil float:
- 1 tbsp gingelly oil
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- To begin with : get ready with the spices and other ingredients to be grinded.
- Add all the ingredients listed above , dry roast it for 2 mins until nice aroma comes.
- Finally add fried gram dal, coconut give a quick saute and switch off. Cool down.
- After cooling, grind it along with little water.
- Grind it to a semi fine paste like this. Set aside.
- To a kadai : heat oil, temper the ingredients listed under ‘to temper’. Let it splutter.
- Add onion, ginger garlic paste and required salt.
- Saute until golden.
- Add tomatoes saute well.
- Cook covered until mushy, also raw smell should not be there.
- Add all the spices powders namely red chilli powder,coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powders. Spices make plain salna more flavored.
- Give a quick saute, do not burn the spice powders.
- Add 1 cup water , mix well and let it boil for few mins.
- Add coconut paste along with mixer rinsed water and mix well.
- Make the gravy thin as we are going to boil it for sometime. Boil well.
- Boil until oil seperates like shown here. Finally garnish the plain salna with coriander leaves.
- Now the trick to get the exact hotel style look : Heat oil in a kadai – add kashmiri red chilli powder, mix well let it bubble for few seconds,Switch off. Do not cook for more time otherwise the spice mix will turn to darker shade.
- Add the oil mix to the gravy on top. Slightly mix it. Boil for 2 mins, close and keep.
- Look at the oil floating on top.
- And finally hotel style empty salna ready.
- Plain Salna ready. Serve with parotta or chapathi and enjoy!
- Make sure not to burn the spice powders, so once you add them just saute for few seconds and proceed to next step.
- The dry spices measure is very important to get a balanced flavourful salna so stick to the recipe.
- If you don’t want much oil to float on top as served in hotels, then skip steps 17,18 and proceed accordingly.
- I love salna with parotta however chapathi is not a bad combo, you can pair it with it too.
- In addition you can add any vegetable or meat of your choice to this recipe.
Salna Recipe Step by Step
1.To begin with : get ready with the spices and other ingredients to be grinded.
2.Add all the ingredients listed above , dry roast it for 2 mins until nice aroma comes.
3. Finally add fried gram dal, coconut give a quick saute and switch off. Cool down.
4.After cooling, grind it along with little water.
5.Grind it to a semi fine paste like this. Set aside.
6.To a kadai : heat oil, temper the ingredients listed under ‘to temper’. Let it splutter.
7.Add onion, ginger garlic paste and required salt.
8.Saute until golden.
9.Add tomatoes saute well.
10. Cook covered until mushy, also raw smell should not be there.
11.Add all the spices powders namely red chilli powder,coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powders. Spices make plain salna more flavored.
12.Give a quick saute, do not burn the spice powders.
13.Add 1 cup water , mix well and let it boil for few mins.
14.Add coconut paste along with mixer rinsed water and mix well.15.Make the gravy thin as we are going to boil it for sometime. Boil well.
16.Boil until oil seperates like shown here. Finally garnish the plain salna with coriander leaves.
17.Now the trick to get the exact hotel style look : Heat oil in a kadai – add kashmiri red chilli powder, mix well let it bubble for few seconds,Switch off. Do not cook for more time otherwise the spice mix will turn to darker shade.
18.Add the oil mix to the gravy on top. Slightly mix it. Boil for 2 mins, close and keep.
19.Look at the oil floating on top.
20.And finally hotel style empty salna ready.
Plain Salna ready. Serve with parotta or chapathi and enjoy!
Veg Salna | Vegetable Salna
Veg Salna is a great sidedish for chapathi and parotta. Parotta Salna is a popular street food here in hotels in Tamil Nadu. Experimenting is a continuous process at Sharmis Passions. Here we go with Veg Salna recipe that is tried & relished with meal maker / soya & veggies. Veg Salna recipe below is home style with lesser spices & spiciness and goodness of veggies & soya. Enjoy each of the style at your home & come up with your version of Salna based on your taste and preferences!
I am a great fan of mutta / egg kothu parotta from a near by shop , so when we buy kothu parotta we also get 2-3 plain parottas just for chalna sake…the salna tastes great with plain parotta, even idli, dosa and chapathi.
Having grown up and considering all the health factors I dont buy / eat parotta often these days….so last weekend when hubby was at the billing counter billing the weekly groceries he reconfirmed whether the pack of readymade wheat parottas were picked up by me…only after my confirmation he went again with the bill. This is the first time I am buying readymade parottas though have tasted few times at my cousins place, usually we get fresh ones from shops.
Veg Salna Recipe
Preparation Time:20 mins | Cooking Time : 25 mins | Serves:2
Recipe Category: Sidedish | Recipe Cuisine: South Indian
Cut Vegetables (I used carrot,beans, peas and potato) – 3/4 cup
Big onion –1 finely chopped
Meal Maker(Soya Chunks) – 1/4 cup
Tomato – 1 roughly chopped
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves – 10
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
To roast & grind:
Coconut – 1/4 cup
Big onion – 1
Tomato – 1
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 4
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Poppy seeds – 1/2 tsp(optional)
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Cinnamon – 1/4 inch piece
Jaapatri – 1/2 flower
Cloves – 2 nos
Star anise – 1
Elachi – 1
*Note : For soya chunks cooking instructions check here
Veg Salna Step by Step
- Heat a tsp of oil – add all the ingredients listed under ‘to grind’ including the spice powders except coconut and saute in low medium flame.Once tomato turns mushy and shrinks add coconut and saute for 2mins.Switch off and cool down.
- While its cooling down, boil water and add soya chunks into it,Switch off and keep it closed, after sometime it will become almost double in size,rinse it well in cold water and set aside.Transfer the roasted ingredients to a mixer, add little water and grind to a coarse paste.Set aside.
- In a pressure cooker, heat oil – add fennel seeds,curry leaves and mint leaves let the fennel seeds crackle then add onion,tomato and saute till raw smell of tomato leaves and it turns mushy.Now add the vegetables and give a quick mix.
- Add the masala paste, cooked soya chunks and give a quick mix.Add required salt.Taste and check for spice level add more red chilli powder if needed.
- Add 3/4 cup water and pressure cook for 1 whistle in medium high flame.Once pressure releases when you open you can see oil floating.Let it boil for 3mins,garnish with coriander leaves and switch off.
Serve it with parotta…yummm!
- Make sure not to burn the spice powders, so once you add them just saute for few seconds and proceed to next step
- The dry spices measure is very important to get a balanced flavourful salna so stick to the recipe
- If you don’t want much oil to float on top as served in hotels, then skip adding Kashmiri chilli powder with oil (Step 17 & 18) accordingly
- Usually salna we get in hotels is full of spices flavour so to match it I have given the spices like cloves,cinnamon and cardamom accordingly.. You can reduce it if you wish too.
- Adjust water quantity according to the thickness of the gravy.
- Adding soya chunks is purely optional but I recommend adding it.
- The consistency should be slightly thick.
- You can serve it with chapathi / idli / dosa too, tastes great.
- You can make kothu parotta or kothu chapathi using this salna
- You can add a variety of vegetables of your preference. Add it after onion tomato is sauteed
- Non-veg version : Add cooked meat & remove them for other dishes for a more flavourful gravy
- Add cooked mutton or chicken with fat for mutton salna.
Serving & Storage Suggestions
- Salna tastes best with parotta. However you can pair it up with chapathi, wheat parotta too.
- Salna is a good accompaniment for Biryani, Idiyappam, KalDosa, Uttappam, pulao, jeera rice and ghee rice.
- The shelf life in room temperature for the empty salna is only 1 day as coconut is added. But you can extend shelf life to another day if refrigerated. I wouldn’t suggest to store for more than 2 days even in fridge.
1.What is Salna?
Salna is a tasty, spiced masala gravy that is made with onion & tomato base, coconut, spices and herbs. Salna is accompanied with parotta, biryani & utappam.
2.How to make oil float in salna without adding fat or excess oil?
Heat oil with kashmiri chilli powder at the final stage and add it to salna to make oil float on the gravy kist the way it looks in hotels.
3.Is Salna non vegetarian?
No – a pure veg dish if made as prescribed above. But be cautious if you are trying at hotels as they add & empty the meat.
4.Is salna perfect for parotta only?
No salna is great for chapati, biryani, pulao, uttappam, kaldosa, idiyappam, jeera rice & ghee rice.I make it for lunch with pulao and use it for dinner with chapati or kothuchapati or parotta.
5.Too many ingredients – can I skip any of them?
Since the empty salna is without veggies lot of masala & spices are added to get its moth watery taste. However, you can skip any of the spices if you not have stock of it but not the spice powders.