My Grandma’s Green Coconut Chutney

My favorite Indian food is coconut chutney. Specifically, my Grandma’s green coconut chutney.

My Grandma’s green coconut chutney

I was born and raised in the US and my parents immigrated from Kerala, India. When I was a kid, I spent two summers in Kerala and a large amount of that time was spent at my Grandma’s house.

Grandma’s house
Our tractor
From my Grandma’s rose bush
The lake in front of Grandma’s house
The front yard aka home to late-night football and cricket matches

I always had a fondness for her green coconut chutney. On a recent trip to India, I was determined to get her recipe. She was happy to share and I am excited to bring this recipe to you.

Under a coconut tree

BUT, you should know that my Grandma, my Mom, and I share a trait when it comes to cooking. While the three of us are pretty meticulous and detail-oriented in our daily lives, we are not always the best at recounting steps (and sometimes ingredients) for dishes that are engrained in our head.

So take this recipe as a foundation for experimenting. I promise all the ingredients are there, but you might have to finagle the quantities to figure out what will suit your taste buds.

Coconuts from our farm

Why is it green? (and other questions)

Why is it green?

The green color comes for the fresh green chilis used in the recipe. If you use fresh red chilis then the color of the chutney turns more of a red color. I feel there is a taste difference in the chilis. While both are tasty, I’m strongly team green.

Fresh green chilis

Is it spicy?

This comes down to personal taste. I find this chutney fairly spicy and flavorful. If you’re worried, just reduce the amount of green chilis you use.

Dried red chilis

Is it safe for…?

This recipe is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, and free from a lot of other things =)

Green coconut chutney is not suitable for horses.

Step-by-Step Recipe for Grandma’s Green Coconut Chutney

In this section, I will walk you through the recipe. This recipe takes up to 15-20 minutes to prepare. The quantities listed should serve up to four people.

If you want a quick summary, feel free to jump to the end of this post.

Ingredients 

1/2 of a coconut, shredded (~3/4 cup of shredded frozen or shredded freeze dried coconut)
Tip of index finger size piece of ginger (~3cm long piece)
4 fresh green chili peppers, broken in half (less chilis = less spiciness)
Up to 1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of coarse table salt (sea salt could work)
10 fresh whole curry leaves or 3-4 whole dried ones
1 dried red chili pepper, cut into 2-3 pieces

All of the ingredients except the water and coconut oil
Steps 

This section breaks down the steps for making my Grandma’s coconut chutney and features my Grandma! Some of the photos are blurry because of the lighting. My Grandma is also a fast cook so I was just trying to keep up!

Step 1

If you’re using a fresh coconut, break it (save the coconut water to drink later) and grate half of it.

My Grandma breaking open a coconut
Grating the coconut
Step 2

Add the grated coconut, ginger, green chilis, and salt in a blender.

My Grandma’s blender
Step 3

As you blend for about 1 minute, slowly add in up to a cup of water depending on your desired thickness. (Less water = thicker chutney). You want the chutney to be smooth, but not liquified. Leave to the side.

This is the consistency you’re trying to get.
Step 4

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add coconut oil. Let the oil heat for about 1 minute.

Heating the coconut oil
Step 5

Add mustard seeds and the dried red chili pepper (watch out for popping).

Mustard seeds and red chili heating up
Step 6

After 30 seconds, add the curry leaves and the mixture from the blender.

It’s coming together!
Step 7

Let the entire mixture heat up for about 1-2 minutes as you stir occasionally.

My Grandma stirring the green coconut chutney
Step 8

Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish it (if you want) and serve!

Garnished with fresh curry leaves
Served with idli (steamed spongy fermented rice cake)
Tips and Alternatives
  • You can remove or keep the curry leaves and red chili in the serving dish, but either way, we don’t eat them.
  • As mentioned before, you can definitely use fresh red chilis instead of fresh green chilis.
  • During the blending stage, you can add up to a tablespoon of yellow or white lentils (kadala parippu/split channa daal) to bulk up the recipe. This can be done in order to create a slightly larger serving of chutney without adding more coconut (especially useful if you don’t have much coconut). The taste is slightly different and worth a try.
  • If you want to adjust the spiciness, I suggest adding or taking away green chili peppers. Keep the dried red one.
  • Other green chutney recipes call for a combination lentils, onions, coriander, and asafoetida. These ingredients are definitely worth experimenting. I have had delicious coconut chutneys with the aforementioned ingredients. The recipe presented here is simply my Grandma’s go-to recipe.

Recipe Summary

My Grandma's Green Coconut Chutney

Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 13 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 coconut (shredded) ~3/4 cup of shredded frozen or shredded freeze dried coconut
  • Tip of index finger size piece of ginger ~3cm long piece
  • 4 fresh green chili peppers broken in half (less chilis = less spiciness)
  • 1 cup water no need to use all of it
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse table salt sea salt could work
  • 10 fresh whole curry leaves or 3-4 whole dried ones
  • 1 dried red chili pepper cut into 2-3 pieces

Instructions

  1. If you're using a fresh coconut, break it (save the coconut water to drink later) and grate half of it.
  2. Add the grated coconut, ginger, green chilis, and salt in a blender.
  3. As you blend for about 1 minute, slowly add in up to a cup of water depending on your desired thickness. (Less water = thicker chutney). You want the chutney to be smooth, but not liquified. Leave to the side.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add coconut oil. Let the oil heat for about 1 minute.
  5. Add mustard seeds and the dried red chili pepper (watch out for popping).
  6. After 30 seconds, add the curry leaves and the mixture from the blender.
  7. Let the entire mixture heat up for about 1-2 minutes as you stir occasionally.
  8. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish it (if you want) and serve!

Have you ever had green coconut chutney? What’s your favorite version of coconut chutney? Let me know in the comments below!

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Smiti Nathan

I’m an archaeologist that travels around the world for both work and pleasure. I have a penchant for exploring ancient and modern places and the people, plants, and foods entangled in them. I write about archaeology, travel, and productivity.

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