Super quick coconut chutney

January 20, 2009

Many recipes are off limits on this blog because they need time, patience or special apparatus. Like the popular South Indian fermented rice and lentil delights – Idli, Dosa and Uttapams.

An evening at a South Indian restaurant followed by the box office blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire was just the push I needed. I decided to give the soft and moreish Uttapams a try at home for weekend breakfast.

I made the batter with ready ground rice flour, and Urid (Black Matpe) dal whizzed to fine powder in my coffee grinder. Then left it to ferment overnight on Friday. By Saturday morning, I positioned myself an inch above the batter and spotted a few of the required little bubbles.

I set a frying pan to heat with oil. The first pancake got stuck solid on the ancient pan. The non-stick tawa or flat griddle pan worked better. Except the batter tasted raw even after what seemed like hours of frying. By this time, my pyjamas sported spilt batter in the most unlikely places.

I left the batter out for another night. Sunday morning and it was all bubbly, like the top of a milkshake. That’s fermentation. Perfect. I set the tawa to heat again. Made four delicious but overdone Uttapams, ate one while cooking, and finished cooking the lot just in time to get ready for pre-Chinese New Year Dim Sum.


I won’t share my excellent recipe on principle. But if you can plan two days ahead, this is the best I’ve found on the blogosphere. Here’s my super quick coconut chutney to make it all worthwhile.



Feeds 4:

  • 50gm dessicated/fresh coconut
  • Half tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 small green finger chilli, chopped
  • 10 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • Half tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste



Soak the dessicated coconut in half a pint of boiling water for five minutes and mix in the tamarind, chopped chilli and fresh coriander. Puree this in a blender until you get a smooth mixture.

If using fresh grated coconut, just use enough hot water to get a blended paste.

In a small pan, bring the oil to heat over a high heat. When it’s hot, chuck in the seeds, curry leaves and red chilli. As they splutter, mix this tadka into the coconut paste. Check for salt and serve alongside your uttapams (and maybe idlis and dosas?).



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  19. Vani Says:

    February 19th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Oh, the woes of fermenting batter! I’ve given up trying to make dosa and idly batter at home. These days, they have homemade batter at the desi grocer thats pretty good.
    Both the uthapam and the chutney look fab, Mallika!

  20. Elisabeth Winkler Says:

    January 25th, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I really cannot wait to see Slumdog Millionnaire…

    Very fascinating to read about fermentation process (which is such an aid to digestion).

  21. Mallika Says:

    January 22nd, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    The chutney looks good but as for uttapams give me MTR instant every time .

  22. Srivalli Says:

    January 22nd, 2009 at 10:04 am

    picture looks great …and love coconut chutney!…:)

  23. sandeepa Says:

    January 22nd, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Ha ha, dosa, idlis are off limits on my blog most of the time because I can’t get them to ferment right or spread right in case of Dosa :)

    Utthapam is my fav and easier to spread than the doas

  24. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen Says:

    January 22nd, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Those look delicious! I could go for a plate right now!

  25. notyet100 Says:

    January 22nd, 2009 at 1:16 am

    even i share the same story not god in dosa makin,.but the pic loooks awesome,..:-)

  26. Nags Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    That’s a very beautiful picture :)

  27. Ganga Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Uttapam was one of my first great discoveries as I began to explore India over a decade ago now. My hotel at the time made the ususal pre-cooked bairne-marie type breakfast dishes but when they discovered my love for uttapam, they made mine fresh each morning. I felt like a princess eating the best food on earth!

  28. Wendy Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    You had me at coconut.

    God, this looks/sounds divine.

  29. binky Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Bless you!
    I used to *love* the coconut chutney at a favorite Indian in west London (Akash, 3+ years ago).
    None of the curry places around my now home in east London that I’ve tried so far offer coconut chutney.
    Therefore making my own is my new obsession.

  30. cassie Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Mallika, that looks and sounds so delicious. I have never heard of uttapam before and I don’t think I’ve ever had a coconut chutney either. I wish you could cook for me!

  31. Asha Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 9:04 am

    About dosa and fermenting, I agree. It’s so hard to get the perfect fermenting, I have messed up too sometimes, don’t blame you! :D

    Coconut chutney is yum always, but if I eat that in the night, heartburn is guaranteed for me!

  32. tbc Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Coconut chutney- one of our favorite accompaniments to go with dosas. I make dosas all the time by mixing rice flour and urad dal flour and adding a little yeast to bring about the fermentation. The batter’s ready in less than an hour. None of that soaking-grinding business.:D

  33. indosungod Says:

    January 21st, 2009 at 6:25 am

    The coconut chutney that simply never ceases to give. I don’t add tamrind to mine though.

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