Coconut Chutney {Vegan}

In most South-Indian homes, “tiffin” is as common for dinner as it is for breakfast. Lunches, though, must always include rice, or what kind of lunch would that be! South Indian food is possibly the most simply classified cuisine ever and is of two kinds – saapadu (rice and its many accompaniments) and tiffin (everything that’s not rice). Tiffin is all-encompassing and neatly bundles everything from chapattis to dosais and idlis into one, convenient label!

Traditional South Indian tiffin would be lost without the many, many varieties of chutney and sambar that it goes with. Imagine a plump, soft idly all by its lonesome with no steaming vengaya sambar* to dip into or getti thenga chutney** to sop up. Nope. Nope, it’s too painful.


This tamil-style coconut chutney is a classic and it is a rare South Indian home-cook who doesn’t have a recipe he/she swears by in his/her repertoire. Recipes for chutneys are like family heirlooms, passed on from one generation to the next to be preserved carefully and cherished. As is mine! Learnt from my mum, this recipe is small on ingredients and big on flavour and takes hardly any time to whip together!

Start by roughly chopping up some fresh coconut. Frozen is okay too, though not preferred – thaw it before use and make sure it hasn’t all dried up!IMG_0629

In the chutney jar of your blender, blitz some roasted gram into a powder. Add a couple green chillis and blitz them too. Finally add all of the coconut and pulse till the point where the chutney still has some texture and hasn’t turned into a paste. Pour it all into a bowl and start prepping your tempering with some oil, mustard seeds, urad dal and red chillis. Gorgeous!Coconut Chutney (Copy)

Pour the sizzling tempering over the chutney, let sit for a few minutes and serve!IMG_0639

*vengaya sambar – a spicy broth made with lentils and shallots
**getti thenga chutney – thick coconut chutney (which I’ve just shown you how to make! Yay!)


Prep Time: – | Cook Time: 5 mins | Makes 1 – 1¼ cup

150g fresh coconut, roughly chopped or grated
2 large green chillis
2½ tbsp roasted gram (bhuna channa / pottukkadalai)
Salt, to taste
Water, to adjust consistency


a pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp broken urad dal
2 whole dry red chillis
½ tbsp gingelly oil

  • In a blender jar fitted with the S-blade, grind 2½ tbsp roasted gram to a powder.
  • To this, add 2 large green chillis and pulse till incorporated
  • Add all of the coconut, a little water (~50ml) and pulse till there are no big pieces of coconut visible.
  • Thin out the chutney to your liking by adding water cautiously and pulsing
  • Season with salt and transfer to a serving bowl
  • In a small kadhai or fry pan, heat ½ tbsp gingelly oil, add 1 tsp mustard seeds and when they pop, add 2 whole dry red chillis and 1 tsp broken urad dal.
  • Fry till the dal turns golden and pour the tempering over the chutney.
  • Let sit for 5-10 minutes, mix and serve with hot idlis or dosas! To store, refrigerate in an airtight container upto 2 days.


  • Instead of green chillis, you can grind red chillis & a bit of garlic with the chutney to give it a tinge of red and more zing.
  • I didn’t have curry leaves on hand, but if you do, definitely tear up a few leaves and add it to the tempering. It adds a really lovely flavour to the chutney!
  • For a little kick of sourness, soak a pinch of tamarind in some water and use that to thin the chutney out. Don’t use too much or the chutney will be stained brown!
  • Add a few elements to this chutney (ginger, shallots, yogurt) to make the classic kerala-style chutney.

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