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Red Coconut Chutney – From Kerala

This is a  typical  Coconut  Chutney prepared  in Kerala homes.  This creamy,  red  coconut chutney  has  smokey undertones and  a  tinge of tang. I have  had it umpteen times – mom,  granny,   countless aunts’  and  a  few  friends are   all  experts   when it  comes  to  making  Coconut  Chutney.   The  taste is  simply out off   this   world  when the  coconut  and  spices  are  ground  in the  traditional  grinding  stone  and  tempered  over  wooden  fire.

Spicy Red Coconut ChutneyThis  recipe  is  very  similar  to  Coconut Chammanthy  from Kerala.   Chammanthy is  essentially a  ground  paste  with spices. No cooking or  other  seasoning  involved.  The  ingredients are   ground  on  the   traditional  grinding  stones  without  adding   extra  water. This ground  mix   is  usually rolled  into  balls or  thick cakes  and  served just  the  way pickles are   served  all over  India.

Like  many authentic  Kerala dishes this  is  vegan  and  nut  free. The chutney  gets all its creaminess  from the  coconut. The  red  chilies  add color  and  heat  to this  chutney.  Adjust  the  amount of  chili powder as per  your spice  level or if you are  using whole  red  chilies remove  the  ribs  and  seeds  from the  chilies before  grinding.  To get an the  added  smokey flavor, add  red  chilies  to the   seasoning  oil and  let  it  blacken   and  infuse  the  oil.

Spicy Red Coconut Chutney Kerala Style

Chutneys  are  best  made  with  fresh ingredients. But  this  is  one recipe  that tastes  good  even  when made with  frozen  coconut. If using  frozen   coconut  defrost  it before   grinding.  Add  all the  ingredients   to  grind  into the  blender  bowl,  and  process  to a  thick paste.  The  texture  should  be  finer  than  breadcrumbs.  It  should  look  creamy  and smooth  from the top ,  but when  rubbed   between  the  fingers  the tiny  crumbs  of  coconut  can be  felt.  You may need  to  add a  little  water to help  with the  grinding  process.   I add  a few fenugreek  seeds   and a  pinch of   coriander  powder   while  grinding, just  the  way mom  does.   These  are  optional ingredients, but  the  addition of  these  definitely   enhances  the  flavors.

The  souring  agent  here is   tamarind.  It  just adds  a  hint  of  tang  and  rounds off  the  flavors.   The color of the  chutneydepends  on the  amount  of  chilies  used.  I like  these  with a  touch of  spice, but  not  too hot  that  the   heat  overshadows  all other  flavors.

Making Spicy Red Coconut Chutney

Heat 1 tablespoon of  coconut  oil in a pan.   Coconut  oil is  the  preferred   oil in this  recipe , but  if  not  available  use any flavorless  oil.  To the  hot  oil add  the  seasoning  spices –  curry leaves , mustard,  urad dal,  red  chilies, and  sliced pearl onions.   Mustard  and  urad  dal are  added  first.   Once  the  seeds  crackle  add  the  remaining  ingredients.  Fry them  till  the  onions  turn  brown.  At any point  if  any of  the  spices  begin to burn ,  turn off  the  heat  an  add  few  drops  of  oil.  Turn the heat on once  the ingredients  cool a  little.

Once  the   seasoning is  ready add   the  ground  paste  to  the pan.  You can  reserve  a  little of  the  seasoning  for  garnishing  later.  Stir  and  cook the  paste  for  30 seconds.  Add  salt  and  a little  water.  Mix  and  adjust  salt.  Add  more  water , if  needed, to  obtain desired   consistency.  Cook  over  medium heat, stirring  occasionally.   Turn the  heat off  when  the  chutney is  heated  through  and  bubbles  begin to appear  on the  sides.     Transfer to a  serving  bowl  and  garnish with  the  reserved  seasoning.

Red Coconut Chutneu Kerala Style

Some  prefer  this  chutney  very thick  as  in the picture above  while  the  others   prefer  it  thinner  so that  the  vadas  and  idlis  can soak up  the  flavors. The roadside  tea  shops  or  bakeries    prefer to serve  an even thinner watered  down version but  the  all the  elements of  taste   will be  there.

Spicy Red Coconut Chutney

Red Coconut Chutney – Kerala Style

By Syama
A  spicy , smoky  red  coconut  chutney   from Kerala.  This is a popular  side for  thick dosa  and  idly. 
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Course Breakfast, Dip, Snack
Cuisine Indian


  • 1 C Grated Coconut Lightly Packed
  • 1 - 2 Pearl Onions
  • Tamarind - A small Piece
  • 1 - 2 Red Chilies To Taste
  • 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt To taste
  • Water - As needed


  • 1 - 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Urad Dal
  • 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
  • 2 Dry Red Chilies
  • 1 Pearl Onions


  • Take all the ingredients excpet for the water and seasonings in a blender jar. Grind into a semi smooth paste adding just just enough water to keep the blades going.
  • Take a small heavy bottomed pan or Kadai and heat the coconut oil. When the oil is hot add teh mustard seeds and urad dal . Let teh mustard seeds splutter and urad dal turn brown .
  • To this add the curry leaves broken red chilies and sliced pearl onions. Let the onions brown . and teh red chilies turn dark . Reserve half the seasoning .
  • Add the ground coconut paste to the pan and stir and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly add enough water to achieve a thick batter consistency (or your preference) Mix, taste and adjust salt.
  • Remove from heat as the chuney get heated through and becomes warm. Do not boil .
  • Transfer to the serving dish and garnish with the reserved seasoning mix .
  • Serve immediately, or chill for use later.

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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I can  have  this   with  almost  anything –  but  when  served  with  thick  dosa (set Dosa or  Amma Dosa )  the  taste  is   absolutely   heavenly.  It  takes  me  back to  the  parent’s  dining  table ,  where  I and  my sister used  to  wait  for  the  next  dosa,  hot off the  griddle.


Red Coconut Chutney Kerala Style


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