Coconut Chutney

This lightly spiced chutney is a condiment that is typically served with South Indian dishes such as dosa and idli. My mom’s original version calls for fresh coconut (I remember her purchasing whole coconuts, cracking them open, and grating it herself!) but frozen works quite well (and this is what I use). This is certainly not a “pantry recipe” as some of the ingredients will likely require a trip to your local Indian store. I try to stock up on these ingredients a couple of times a year, and most Indian grocery stores will carry both fresh and frozen coconut. While the tadka (vagar)* is optional, I would highly recommend it. I’ve always eaten this with dosa or idli, but my husband swears it tastes good on pretty much everything.

2 tablespoons split roasted chana dal, soaked in water for 30 minutes

1 1/2 cups grated coconut (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup plain plant-based yogurt (I recommend coconut)

6 to 8 fresh curry leaves

1/2 to 1 whole green chili, sliced depending on desired level of spice

1/2 teaspoon salt


1 to 2 teaspoons of oil

1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon urad dal

2 dried red chilies

1/8 teaspoon of asafetida

6 to 8 fresh curry leaves

Place the coconut, yogurt, curry leaves, green chilies, split roasted chana dal, and salt in a blender. I prefer using a smaller attachment or bullet blender if you have one. Blend until mostly smooth (consistency of apple sauce), adding water as needed. Season with additional salt to taste. Empty into a bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a small skillet or pan (the smallest you have as it only a small amount of ingredients). When the oil has warmed, add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Add the red chilies. Once the mustard seeds have begun to pop, add the curry leaves and asafetida, being careful to avoid the splatter. Remove from heat immediately and pour on top of the coconut chutney.

Store any leftovers in a container for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the chutney and make the tadka when ready to use.

*tadka or vagar is technique of tempering spices to release their essential oils and flavor