OMG the Food: Chutneys, Part I – Coconut, Peanut, Mint, Coriander, Tamarind/Date and Sesame Coconut

Good morning everyone,
Chutneys.  A staple of Indian food.  So awesome, so delicious and so very, very versatile.  There are an almost unlimited variety of chutneys and each will be appropriate to serve with different foods.  I’ll do my best here to provide suggestions for serving but, like always, feel free to experiment!  You can buy many chutneys from Canadian supermarkets but really, where is the fun in that?You’ll want the chutney recipes for later, super-tasty Indian dishes like dhosa and idli. So yummy.  But before we get to those, let’s deal with six of the more common chutneys – coconut, peanut, mint, coriander, tamarind/date and sesame coconut.  This will give you a good start with the basics and we’ll get to the other awesome chutney goodness in later posts.Coconut Chutney

This is served with a variety of foods including dhosa and idli.  It’s sweet, spicy and light in flavour.

1 cup grated coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp roasted channa dal (see tips below)
2 green chilies, chopped finely
8 curry leaves (we can only get them dried here)
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp canola, bran or coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal (see tips below)
a pinch of asafoetida, (also known as hing, available in most Indian markets)
1 whole, dried red chili, broken

Combine the coconut, cilantro, roasted channa dal, green chilies, 1/2 of the curry leaves, salt and a little warm water in a blender and puree until smooth.  If the mixture is not easy to puree add a small amount of warm water at a time.  Transfer this mixture to a bowl.  Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seed and urad dal.  When the seeds begin to sputter, add the hing, the remaining curry leaves and the red chili.  Saute on medium heat for 5 or 6 seconds.  Pour this into the coconut mixture and mix well.  This chutney will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Tips:  Channa dal are dried chickpeas, available in most Indian markets.  To roast, heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the channa to the dry frying pan and roast, shaking the pan frequently until the channa begins to brown and becomes fragrant.

Urad dal are split black lentils, available dry in most Indian markets.

Curry powder cannot be substituted for curry leaves.  They are not the same thing.  Curry  leaves are generally available in dried form in most Indian markets, although sometimes they are also available frozen.  There is no need to rehydrates the leaves for this recipe.

Peanut Chutney

This is served with a variety of foods including dhosa, pakora, chaat and idli.  It’s nutty, spicy and light in flavour.

1/4 cup peanuts, raw preferably or dry roasted, unsalted
1/4 cup roasted channa dal (see note in tips above)
2 green chilies, finely chopped
1/4″ ginger, peeled
1 tbsp sesame seeds
12 – 14 curry leaves
1 tsp canola, bran or coconut oil
1 pinch of asafoetida (also known as hing, available in most Indian markets)
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a small frying pan.  Sauté the peanuts on a medium-low heat for 3 minutes or so, until they are browning and fragrant.  Add the curry leaves and sauté for another minute or so.  Add the roasted channa dal, sesame seeds and asafoetida and sauté on low heat for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Allow the mixture to cool before putting in a blender.  Add the ginger, chilies and salt to the blender and grind until smooth, adding water as required to make the blender work.  If you want a thinner consistency add a little more water.

Mint Chutney

We eat this with everything dhosa, samosa, pakora, idli, other chat and even with chips.  It is bright and spicy in flavour and, for meat eaters, also goes well with tandoor treats.

3 tbsp fresh yogourt (See recipe here, or use 3% natural, unflavoured yogourt)
1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, stems removed
1 cup coriander leaves
1 tbls lemon juice (about the juice of 1/2 lemon)
2 green chilies, chopped
1 small red (Spanish) onion, chopped
1 thumb ginger, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp amchor (mango powder, available in most Indian markets)
Salt, to taste

Whisk the yogourt in a bowl until smooth, add the amchor powder and salt.  Purée the mint leaves, coriander leaves, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, onion and green chili with a little water to a smooth paste.  Add water gradually and only as much as required to make the blender or food processor puree the mixture.  Mix the green mixture into the curd thoroughly.

Coriander Chutney

This chutney is is also known as cilantro chutney (cilantro and coriander are the same plant).  It is spicy, garlicky and full of flavour.  Like the mint chutney, we will pretty much eat this on anything.

1 bunch (about 1 1/2 cups) of fresh cilantro, chopped roughly
10 cloves garlic, chopped
3 green chilies, chopped
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice (about the juice of one lemon)
1/2 cup yogourt, whisked until smooth

In a blender or food processor, chop cilantro leaves until crushed. Add garlic, green chilies, salt and lemon and blend until smooth.  Add only enough water to make the blender or food processor turn the mixture into a thick paste.  Mix the cilantro mixture into the curd in a bowl and serve.

Tamarind and Date Chutney

This chutney is often served with dhosa, puris, idli, samosas and other chaat (fried snacks).  It is sweet and tangy.  This recipe will make about 1 1/2 cups and will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container.


1/2 cup tamarind, seeds removed (available at most Asian markets)
1/2 cup dates, seeds removed
1/2 cup jaggery, broken up (jaggery is a type of sugar available in most Indian markets)
2 cups water (more or less depending on the consistency you want)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, dry roasted then ground
1/2 tsp coriander seed, dry roasted then ground
1/4″ fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
Salt, to taste

In a pot, over low heat, add the tamarind, dates and water.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the fruit softens.  Add the jaggery and continue to cook until the jaggery is dissolved and the mixture thickens somewhat.  Add the cumin seed, coriander seed, ginger and chili powder.  Stir well and simmer another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add salt to taste and let mixture cool.  Strain the chutney into a bowl using a strainer to get out the larger fibrous parts of the fruit.  Use a wooden spoon to push the paste through the strainer.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Sesame and Coconut Chutney

This is a variation on regular coconut chutney.  I like the nuttier flavour of this chutney with dhosa and idli but also on poha and with some biryanis.  The tamarind adds a nice tang, so don’t leave it out.  The recipe is easy peasy and produced a wonderfully sweet and nutty flavoured chutney.

1 cup shredded coconut
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp tamarind (you can buy tamarind paste in most Asian markets)
3 red chilies, broken with seeds removed
2 cloves of garlic
Salt, to taste

Heat a small pan over medium high heat.  Add the sesame seeds and dry roasted, shaking frequently, until the seeds are fragrant and beginning to brown.  Allow the seeds to cool to room temperature.  Add the seeds to a blender or food processor along with the remaining ingredients.  Puree.  Add just enough water to make the blender or food processor turn the mixture into a paste.  Remove to a bowl and serve.

Tips:  If you cannot find tamarind paste, you can add 1/4 tsp amchor (mango powder) to this chutney to add a tangy quality to the chutney.

Sesame seeds get a big boost of flavour by being dry roasted.  If you leave this step out, the nuttiness of this chutney will be reduced significantly.

There – your first six chutneys and six of my favourites.  I could dhosa all day long with any of these chutneys on the side.  Yummy!

In our next OMG the Food post, we’ll look at some more chutneys from the endless variety that are available.

Until next time,
Peace & love,



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