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4.5 from 4 votes

Empty Salna recipe | Parotta Salna | Plain Salna Recipe

Empty Salna, as the name suggests, its a gravy without any veggies. Salna is a very popular gravy served with Parotta or Biryani. A very common accompaniment in Road side shops. Onion-tomato based gravy is made which is enriched with coconut along with other spices. A spicy and delicious treat!!!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Veg Gravies
Cuisine: Indian Cuisine, Indian Recipes, South Indian Recipes, Tamil Nadu Recipes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Sowmya Venkatachalam


  • Heavy Bottomed Pan
  • Mixer Grinder


For Grinding

  • 10 nos Shallots / Baby Onions
  • 2 nos Tomato medium sized, Chopped
  • 3 nos Garlic cloves
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 2 nos Green Chili
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 3-4 nos Cloves
  • 2 nos Cardamom
  • 1 no Star Anise
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 10-12 nos Mint Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Leaves
  • 2 tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Roasted Gram Dal (Pottukadalai / Dhaliya)
  • ½ Cup Grated Coconut
  • 1 tbsp Oil

For Salna Masala

  • 1 no Onion Sliced
  • 2 nos Tomato Big Size, Chopped
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp Salt Adjust as needed
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Leaves For Garnishing


  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 1 no Bay Leaf
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 2-3 nos Cloves
  • 2 nos Cardamom
  • 1 no Star Anise


Preparing Grinding Ingredients

  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil and add fennel and cumin seeds. Allow the seeds to sputter.
  • Next, add pepper, whole garam masala (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise). Sauté for few seconds.
  • Now, add green chili, ginger and garlic. Give a mix.
  • To the pan, add shallots and sauté shallots till translucent.
  • Then, add the chopped tomato to the pan. Also add mint and coriander leaves. Cook till the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Finally add poppy seeds and roasted gram. Sauté for a min and swtich off the flame.


  • Allow the sautéed ingredients to cool off completely and take it to mixer jar. Add grated coconut to mixer jar.
  • Grind everything to smooth Paste. Set this paste aside.

Preparing Salna Masala

  • Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the whole garam masala (bayleaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and star anise) and give a mix.
  • Next, add sliced onions and saute the onions till translcuent.
  • Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Give a mix.
  • Also add turmeric powder, kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Give a good mix.
  • Sprinkle handful of water to the masala. Cover & Cook till the oil separates and oozes out.
  • Now, to the cooked onion-tomato masala, add the ground coconut masala paste. Rinse the mixer with 1 cup of water and add it to the gravy.
  • Also add 3 cups of water. Adjust salt as needed. Stir well. Cover and cook for 15 mins in medium flame.
  • After 15 mins, if the gravy is very thick add water and adjust the consistency. Garnish the salna with coriander leaves.
  • Relish the Empty Salna with Parotta or Biryani!



Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g