One of my earliest childhood memories is that of my grandmother, dressed in her beautiful white sari to match her white hair, grinding chutneys on a slab or with a mortar and pestle. To me, chutney, especially nariyal chutney, brings a wave of nostalgia and memories of good old times, and that is why the simple but exquisite white chutney holds a very special place in my heart. Today, we will learn this coconut chutney for dosa recipe that will make you a true believer in the deliciousness of South Indian cuisine.
However, it does not just hold a special place in my heart; it also holds key importance in South Indian homes, where this smooth paste is a staple side dish and always present on the table. Even if you go to any South Indian food restaurant anywhere in the world, you will find coconut chutney alongside hot idli and dosa as a must on the menu.
About this Simple Coconut Chutney for Dosa Recipe
Coconut chutney is also known as Nariyal chutney, Thengai chutney, Kobbari chutney, Pachadi and Khobryachi chutney in various parts of South India.
Kids also prefer simple names like white chutney, dosa chutney, idli chutney, or just plain coconut chutney.
Well, as many names as it has, it also has several ways of preparation. Every household makes it differently, and as my grandmother used to say, and we didn’t understand back then, “every hand makes it differently even if the recipe is the same.”
Coconut chutney is served as an essential dip with many South Indian staples like idli sambhar, dosas, upma, vada, and even rice.
The method of preparation and ingredients vary from person to person and family to family. The most basic coconut chutney for dosa recipe is made with coconut, green chilies, roasted chana dal, urad dal, ginger, and a few other ingredients like curry leaves, mustard seeds, etc. for the tempering.
Nowadays, people blend the chutney for ease, but whenever I miss my grandmother or nostalgia hits me, I still like to make it on a stone slab. Similarly, the consistency of your chutney also depends on your taste buds and personal preferences. Some people like their chutney chunky, while others like it smooth. It can be quite thin in consistency or super dry as some households prefer,
Sharpen your virtual tools and take out your pots because we are making an easy recipe of nariyal chutney today to serve with crispy dosas.
For a basic coconut chutney for dosa recipe, you do not need many ingredients, and most of these basic ingredients will already be in your kitchen if you are South Indian or you have a thing for South Indian cuisine. So, let us see what you need.
This is truly the star of the dish, so it is important to use good quality coconut. Ideally, you should use grated fresh coconut meat to get the authentic flavor. However, you can also use frozen coconut or desiccated unsweetened coconut or coconut flakes to make this chutney.
If you use frozen coconut, always remember to bring it to room temperature first before blending; otherwise, its fat might separate, and it will ruin the texture of the chutney.
If you ask me, the elders did it right by using fresh coconut, so follow them.
Roasted Chana Dal or Bengal Gram
This is used to give that thick, silky texture to the chutney. However, remember to always get roasted Bengal gram or bhuna chana dal, not the simple chana dal.
It is important to add chana dal to your chutney because, otherwise, the chutney will become watery after some time and will lose its consistency. If roasted gram lentils are not available, you can replace them with roasted peanuts.
Not every South Indian household adds yogurt, some skip it. However, I believe that yogurt gives a great overall structure to the chutney, along with adding a punch to it. For a vegan version, you can skip it and add lime juice instead.
Let’s heat things up a little here with green chilies because come on, we are Indians, we thrive on heat. They give a nice touch of heat to the chutney, but you can adjust the levels according to your heat tolerance.
Ginger is also a key ingredient for this chutney. Some people also add garlic, but it’s up to you. Personally, I don’t add it.
Salt because we like things salty. Come on, not everything has a reason. You do a few things just because you got to do them.
This is the real tangy punch behind your white chutney. Soak a ball of tamarind in some water. After a while, deseed the tamarind and squeeze out all the goodness into a pulp, and you are good to go. A half teaspoon of tamarind paste can be used as a substitute.
Tempering is optional, but if you ask my opinion, don’t make tempering your chutney illegal. It is important to take out your tadka pan (i.e. – tempering or tarka pan)and use it to bring out all the flavors. If you want to refrigerate or freeze your chutney, you can skip tempering and temper it when you serve it to instantly give it a touch of freshness.
For tempering I use the following ingredients
- Cooking Oil
- Black mustard seeds
- Urad dal
- Curry leaves
- Dry red chilies
- Cumin seeds
Fold your sleeves and get ready to work that slab, or if you think, “Why overwork yourself when we have technology?” Then it is time to take out your blenders or food processors.
Let us master this chutney together
- First off, throw your coconut, green chilies, ginger, yogurt, tamarind pulp, salt and roasted channa dal into the blender and just blend it. If it feels too dry, you can add a little water to it.
After you have made a smooth chutney paste, the white chutney is practically ready and some people like to stop right here and scoop it up with their dosas and idlis. However, we are patient, so we will move to the next step.
Take a small pan, add cooking oil of your choice to kick-start the tadka process over a medium low heat. Add the mustard seeds to your oil and let them splutter. Then add the cumin seeds and the urad dal and wait until the dal gets a nice golden color. But keep the heat under control, so you do not burn the dal.
Finally add curry leaves, dried red chilies and asafoetida to the mixture and take it off heat and pour it over your chutney.
Your coconut chutney for dosa recipe is now ready to be devoured. In addition to dosa, you can also eat it with idli or just by your fingers if you are a chutney fanatic like me.
You can store this chutney in your refrigerator in an airtight container for almost a week, just remember to always use a clean, dry spoon to scoop it.
This chutney can also be frozen, and you can store it for up to a month in your freezer. Just pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then take out the cubes and freeze them in a ziplock bag. Take out as many cubes as needed at a time and thaw them to use.
Time To Zhoosh It Up A Little:
Life is all about colors, and if you want to add color to your life and white coconut chutney, you can make green coconut chutney and red coconut chutney.
Although there are so many variations of coconut chutney, I love making it different sometimes. For the red version, you can add dried red chilies to your basic chutney.
This version is spicy, but you will love it if you have a spice tolerance.
To make the green version, you can add raw mango and/or fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) to your chutney. Coriander coconut chutney is truly a delicious coconut chutney version with many health benefits.
There are many more versions, like onion and tomato versions, or you can add mint leaves, curry leaves, beetroot, etc. to make it according to your style.
The possibilities are endless, and that is the beauty of this chutney… it embraces all tastes and preferences.
This chutney is the Jerry to the Tom of dosas. You can’t have dosa without chutney. You can also serve it with masala dosa, idli, upma, uttapam, paniyaram, goli baje, medu vada, rice or any other of the South Indian dishes.
I even take the liberty of spreading it on sandwiches or tortillas for wraps. Your chutney, your choice!
Is coconut chutney good for health?
- Coconut chutney is loaded with tons of health promoting phytochemicals from the many spices that are blended into it. Coconut chutney is also loaded with saturated fat, which has historically been demonized as an unhealthy fat. But if we look at traditional cultures that rely heavily on coconut as a significant contribution to their calorie intake, we see robust health and vitality.
What do you eat coconut chutney with?
- Coconut chutney is a perfect accompaniment to dosa, chapati, paratha, sambar, and rice. In fact, if you go to a restaurant, and they serve you a dosa without a side of coconut chutney, just get up and walk out! Just kidding. But yes, coconut chutney is essential to your dosa experience.
Is coconut chutney good for weight loss?
- In general, high fat and high carbohydrate meals tend to lead to weight gain. But, if you look at South Indian Villagers who eat coconut chutney every day in addition to plowing their rice fields and chewing their Beetle nut, they are slim and muscular. Coconut is also full of medium chain fatty acids, which have several health benefits. In addition, coconut chutney has tons of fiber, which helps trap cholesterol and flush it out through your GI tract.
Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.