In South-India it is eaten almost every day, I think, as an accompaniment to the breakfast dishes dosa, idli and vada. Sometimes the coconut chutney is served very watery, sometimes thick and spicy, it depends of the region and the cook.
All recipes in the South-Indian cuisine are using fresh coconut meat, but here in Europe it’s not so easy to buy and I don’t know which one is a good one. The dry, hairy ones I see here, are used in the temples, but not as much in the kitchen.
A good substitute is frozen coconut meat, which I buy in the asian took.
Using dry desiccated coconut is an option; the best thing to do is to let it soak in warm water for a short while, so the flavors can come out.
Just try it and adapt to your taste and possibilities!
1 cup grated fresh coconut or fresh frozen coconut
¼ cup roasted chana dal (Bengal gram)
1-4 fresh green chilies, chopped fine
1 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 cm ball of tamarind or some lime juice
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp urad dal(the split, husked one)
1 pinch asafoetida
1 dried red chili
some curry leaves, fresh or dry
I dry-roast the chana dal in a heavy frying pan till they color red-brown, let them cool slightly before grinding. Don’t omit the dal, it gives such a great flavor to the chutney!
Combine all ingredients for the chutney and grind to a smooth consistency, gradually adding ¼ - ½ cup of water till you have a thick paste the way you like it.
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy frying pan. Add the ingredients for the tempering, in the given order and stir. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, remove the pan from the heat and add the content in one time to the chutney. Mix well. Serve at once or chill in the fridge. You can dilute it a bit when it’s too thick with water or lime juice, to your taste. It keeps well in the fridge for some days when stored in an airtight box.