Monday, May 21, 2018

Coconut cilantro chutney

This is a chutney traditionally served with idli. For the coconut, use a fresh coconut or frozen flesh that is sometimes available at supermarkets or Asian grocers--don't use dried or the sweetened stuff for baking. There are tons of really easy to follow instructions online on how to get the coconut flesh, if you're unfamiliar. You can also get the hing (asafoetida), curry leaves, urad dal, and chana dal online or at an Indian grocer.

Prep time: 1 cocktail

1/2 cup chana dal
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut meat (about 1 small coconut)
3/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/2-inch ginger piece
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 serrano chili, chopped
1 cup water or coconut water if you use a fresh coconut
3/4 tsp salt
Agave nectar or sugar (optional)
2 TBSP neutral oil, like canola
1/2 tsp urad dal
8 fresh, whole curry leaves
A pinch of hing (aka asafoetida)

Heat a dry frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add chana dal and toast until it's lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, transfer to a spice grinder or electric coffee grinder and process into a powder.

Combine chana dal, shredded coconut, cilantro, ginger, lime, chili, water/coconut water, and salt in food processor. Puree into a smooth paste. Adjust lime and salt to taste, add some agave or sugar, if desired.

Pour into the container you want to serve the chutney in. Then in a small, clean frying pan, heat the oil over medium to medium-low heat. When oil shimmers, add mustard seeds. Simmer the seeds until they just start to pop. Add urad dal and simmer until the dal is browned but not burned, stirring constantly. Add curry leaves and hing cook 3-5 more seconds. Remove from heat and immediately pour on top of chutney and serve--no need to incorporate or stir in oil and spices.  

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