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Guest recipes with Serene Tharian


Condiment the cornerstone of Indian cuisine


Red Coconut Chutney

I cannot emphasise this enough, the chutney craze for us in South India, is a real phenomenon! We can’t get enough of the innumerable varieties of this particular condiment that Indian cuisine has to offer.

Coconut chutney is a South Indian addition to complement a meal. It is made with fresh coconut pulp ground with other aromatic ingredients and water. Coconut chutney is made with both red chillies or green chillies. In south India it is usually served with our traditional rice-based breads. But also it can be eaten with pulaos, kebabs and bhajis.

One such amazing chutney is this Kerala style Red Coconut Chutney – red because of the dried red chilies in it. The complicated flavour of this chutney is enhanced by the tempering added to it.


1 cup coconut tightly packed – fresh, grated, if desiccated use 1.5 cups and half cup coconut cream.

10 whole pearl onions or shallots – chopped

2 to 3 dry red chillies – halved or broken or chopped, deseeded, depending on spice requirement and dry roasted on a pan till aromatic

1 inch ginger

2 cloves garlic – chopped

10 peanuts that are roasted in butter or ghee. (Optional but adds such an amazing flavour to the chutney)

¼ cup water – for grinding or blending (use as required)

Salt as required

For Tempering

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram)

8 to 10 curry leaves

2 tablespoon pearl onions or shallots or onions – chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil – edible


Put the tightly packed grated coconut, (or desiccated coconut), chopped shallots or pearl onions, dried red chilies, peanuts, garlic and ginger in a grinder or small blender.

Add salt as required and coconut cream and 2 tablespoons water and grind or blend to a fine consistency. If more water is required add by tablespoon.

Place the ground red coconut chutney in a bowl and set aside.

Making Tempering

Heat coconut oil in a small pan.

Add mustard seeds and allow them to crackle on low heat. Do not burn.

Then add the urad dal.

Fry the urad dal on low heat stirring often, till they are golden brown.

Add the curry leaves and chopped shallots or pearl onions.

On a low heat, sauté stirring often till the shallots are light golden.


Next add the tempering mixture along with its oil to the red coconut chutney kept in the bowl.

Stir and mix well to combine.

Can be eaten with onion Bhajis, toasted bread or tradition South Indian rice-based pancakes or toasted pita or a pulao.


Serene runs amateur cooking club The Best Exotic Kerala Kitchen, where cooking lessons are held for friends and family. Tel: 99 222462


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