Red Coconut Chutney – From Kerala

Red Coconut Chutney
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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 aunt’s  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.

This  recipe  is  very  similar  to  Coconut Chammanthy  from Kerala.   Chammanthy is  essentially  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.

This  Kerala Style  Red   Coconut  Chutney relies only on the  coconut  for  its  creaminess. 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.

Red Coconut Chutney

Chutneys  are  best  made  with  fresh ingredients. But  this  is  one recipe  that tastes  good  even  when made with  frozen  coconut . Add  all the  ingredients   to  grind  into the  blender  bowl,  and  process  to a  thick paste – not  smooth – is formed.  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   enhances  the  flavors.

If using  frozen   coconut  defrost  it before   grinding.

Coconut Chutney Seasoning

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.  Return  to  low  to medium  heat 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 Chutney – Kerala Style

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Red Coconut Chutney –  Kerala Style


To Grind
Grated Coconut - 1 C Lightly Packed
Pearl Onions - 1 to 2
Tamarind - A small Pinch
Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 5 to 6
Coriander Powder - A Pinch
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Salt- 1/2 Tsp (To taste)
Water - As needed
Coconut Oil - 1 Tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Urad Dal - 1/2 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Stem
Red Chilies - 2
Pearl Onions - 1


Take all the ingredients listed under to grind except water and salt in a blender jar. Grind into a semi smooth paste adding 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 the mustard seeds and the urad dal . Let the 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 the red chilies turn dark. Reserve half the seasoning .

Add the ground coconut paste to the pan, stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add salt and a little water. Mix, taste and adjust salt.

Slowly add enough water to achieve a thick batter consistency (or as desired). Mix, remove from heat as the chutney gets 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.


Fenugreek and Coriander are optional ingredients.


The  souring  agent  here is   tamarind.  It  just adds  a  hint  of  tang  and  rounds off  the  flavors.   Some  prefer  this  chutney to be   thin  while  others   like  it  fairly thick.  Of  course  the roadside  tea  shops  or  bakeries    prefer to serve the watered  down version but  the  all the  elements of  taste   will be  there.

I can  have  this   with  almost  anything –  but  when  served  with  thick  dosa (set Dosa or  Amma Dosa )  the  taste  is   absolutely   amazing.  “Absolutely Amazing” I agree,   that is  a  lame  way of  describing  something .  But  it  does  take  me  back to  the  parent’s  dining  table ,  where  I and  my sister used  to  wait  for  the  next  hot   dosa , right  off the  griddle.

Red Coconut Chutney Kerala Style

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