Coconut chutney is a must with every South Indian’s breakfast, be it idli (steamed rice-lentil cakes), dosas (rice-lentil crepes) or even Ven Pongal/ Khara Pongal (rice-lentil risotto) or upma (semolina savory pudding). There are many variations to this chutney using coconut, but in our house, by far the most relished are onion-coconut chutney and hing (asafoetida) coconut chutney.
This chutney has to be consumed fresh or freeze leftovers for another day. The flavor of the raw fresh red onions imparts a sweet aroma to the chutney, which we love!! Even though sambhar (spiced lentil-vegetable broth)is an accompaniment for most south Indian breakfast dishes, coconut chutney gives a fresh coastal flavor to the dish. It is best to use fresh coconut, but if you do not have access to fresh coconut, I have sometimes used frozen coconut and the taste has not altered that much.
It takes just 2 easy steps, blending the coconut with some onions and red chillies with tamarind as the souring agent and tempering it with mustard seeds and curry leaves in coconut oil!! Do not limit yourself to using coconut onion chutney as a side dish for just idlis or dosas etc, it goes great mixed with steamed rice and as a spread for breads too!!
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut (or frozen coconut)
- 1 small red onion or few shallots, chopped
- 8 to 10 dry roasted red chillies
- 1 small marble size tamarind or ½ teaspoon tamarind paste
- Salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- Few curry leaves
- In a blender container, blend the coconut, roasted red chillies, onions, tamarind and salt to taste with some water to a fine paste.
- Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl and dilute with additional water to the consistency you want.
- Heat the oil (preferable coconut oil; if unavailable, use any oil you prefer) and once hot, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the curry leaves and pour this over the coconut-onion chutney.
- Mix well and serve immediately with idlis, dosas, vadai (lentil fritters), upma, chapathi, pongal etc.
- Coconut chutneys are best eaten the same day, if leftover, freeze the rest.
- Red onions impart the best flavor, but if you do not have them, you can use white onions.