Chutney is a mixture obtained by grinding various ingredients and spices and is usually something that is very hot, spicy and tangy. These are meant to be consumed in moderation – just a slight dip that lends a kick to the main meal. Chutneys can elevate the main dish to great levels and it can also be a nice accompaniment to a simple meal.
Coconut chutney is very ‘south Indian’ and just like some other south Indian dishes, you will find slight variations in coconut chutneys across the four main southern states- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. I love all the different variations of coconut chutneys (that I have had!) and they all are simply finger-licking delicious! Coconut chutneys in general are not very hot and spicy as other chutneys and they have a smooth texture and body owing to the coconut. In Kerala, the additional touch of coconut oil tempering towards the end gives it the awesome additional burst of flavor. Coconut chutney is a mandatory accompaniment for Idlis and dosas.
Here I want to share my recipe for coconut chutney that is a blend of the karnataka and kerala version. My family and friends love to have this coconut chutney even with tortilla chips and paani pooris!
This recipe will make about 2 cups of chutney. Ingredients: 1 heaped cup of freshly grated coconut(or fresh frozen grated coconut that has been thawed to room temperature) 1/2 cup of roasted chana dal or roasted split chickpeas (also called dalia or futana)- or you can also use roasted peanuts instead 2 green chillies or 1 medium dry red chilly 1/2 inch by 1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger a tiny piece of tamarind, about the size of a nickel 1/2 tsp salt or per taste 1/2 cup of warm water to grind 1 tbsp plain thick yoghurt (optional) 1 tsp coconut oil 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 1 tsp urad dal (split black gram lentils) 4-5 fresh curry leaves 1 small dry red chilly (broken into 2)
Method: Add the coconut, the roasted chana dal, the chillies, ginger, tamarind,salt and thewater in a blender or a food processor and grind to a fine pasty consistency. (If you are using a regular blender instead of a food processor, I recommend using warm water to grind)
Now take a small pan (tadka pan) and heat the coconut oil. When hot add the mustard seeds and as they begin to splutter, lower the flame and add the urad dal and stir until the urad dal turns to golden color. Then add the dry red chillies and the curry leaves and put the heat off. Pour this oil garnish over onto the coconut paste in the bowl.
If you are not familiar with chana dal and urad dal, you can read more info about them on the glossary page.
As stated in the recipe, you can also use roasted peanuts instead of roasted chana dal.