Green Coconut Chutney for idli-dosa, with ginger:
This is the evergreen, ever so popular, green coconut chutney which we are served at restaurants along with south Indian delights such as dosa/idli/vada etc.
Once I started using fresh coconut for chutneys, I could not bring myself to use frozen coconut ever again. Some of the houses/apartments we have lived in, posted challenges with regards to breaking open the hard shell of the coconut.
In India this is done at the blink of an eye in every household. There is always the ever welcoming backyard, with hard concrete floor or stone floor, which houses the outdoor tap for watering the garden, the well (now-a-days covered and a pump is used to send water upto the over-head tank), convenient for the maid or the Gardner to get on with his/her duties without having to enter the house. The yard could also be used for sun-drying spices etc.
With ever-increasing need for space and forever climbing rates for dwellings, now-a-days many activities previously done outdoor are having to be done inside the house. Despite this, every household finds a way to use whole coconuts. Some house-holds still enjoy back yards and other hard floor out-door spaces.
Fortunately, we have a rough, hard brick wall, a foot in height from the ground here in our backyard. We use this at times as an informal seating option outdoor. But of course on this occasion (and many others to come!) it was perfect for breaking open my coconut . A few hits onto the wall and we (myself and my daughters) saw a crack appear. Few more goes and it opened up with the sweet coconut water trickling out. I had a small cup ready to collect the water. Immediately I cut out 2 small pieces of the raw coconut and offered it to my daughters. They grabbed it and loved it. My elder one volunteered for the coconut water.
It was a fasting day for me. By ‘fasting’ I mean, on certain days, Indians give up or restrain from eating certain food stuffs. Each community has specific days during which this is followed; which is when certain foods are avoided.
This was one such occasion. I was planning to make idlis. Fresh coriander caught my sight when I opened the fridge. I decided to prepare this recipe.
coconut – grated or chopped up from 1/2 a small coconut
fresh coriander – 1/2 a large bunch
ginger – 1″ piece roughly chopped (optional)
green chili – 1 roughly chopped (use according to taste) (I used 1 healthy looking chili!)
roasted gram – 1 tbsp (daliya)
oil – 2 tsp
mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
curry leaves – 4-5
asafoetida – 1 small pinch (avoid asafoetida if on a gluten-free diet)
grind the coconut, ginger, green chili, roasted gram and salt using small amounts of water to form a smooth paste. transfer this to a bowl
prepare tempering in a small pan by heating oil. add mustard seeds. when they pop, add asafoetida. switch off the heat and add curry leaves
once mustard seeds stop popping, transfer this tempering onto the chutney