Back when I was at school, my mom used to ensure that we never left the house without eating breakfast. We are a classic South Indian family so working day breakfast = Idli. I can’t count the number of tantrums I’ve thrown over the years to try and get out of it, and between my sister, dad and I there was even talk of organised revolt. But that’s a story for another day. Anyhow, what pissed off my mom even more was that when the same idli was offered in restaurants and functions, literally anywhere else, we all would happily (Ok maybe happy is pushing it but you get the idea 😛 ) dig right in.
What was missing at home? The Coconut Chutney.
There’s something in the spicy, rich accompaniment that can even make idli go in. Trust me. There is no praise higher I can give it 😀 Dosas, parathas, literally anything is better with chutney. So why not have a go at making it?
- Ginger (Optional)
- The first step is to grind the coconut. Now you could get ground coconut directly these days but that doesn’t give you the satisfaction of…… Yeah never mind. :$ It’s a pain to do and if you can get it done for you go ahead. Breaking the coconut can be fun but sitting and grinding it is annoying. Anyway coconut grinders are pretty commonplace so let’s move on to the next step.
- Select the smallest jar of your Mixer Grinder (or Mixie to us Indians 😛 ) and clean it up. We use the smallest one to get a fine, even blend. Add the chillies and ginger pieces in the proportions specified below. Add ground coconut till the halfway marking on the jar.
- Add water, salt and the tamarind, again in the proportions section (I get the feeling some of you might start to skip there directly ) Add asafoetida, or Kaayam to you South Indians, to add taste.
- Blend it in bursts of 10 seconds each keeping one hand firmly on the lid of the jar to prevent it from spraying out everywhere in a comical and spectacular mess. After every burst, check it to see it’s blending properly and mix again with a spoon. Results in a more even texture and smooth blend. 2-3 bursts should do it, until you have the semi-solid look of chutney.
- Almost there. Time to season. Take about two drops of oil in a scoop spoon or wok. Add the mustard and heat till it begins to simmer. Add it to the chutney and mix well. Now ready to serve. 😀
2 chillies + 30g Ginger (that’s one small piece cut, this is optional) + Half the mixie jar of Ground Coconut + Quarter cup Water + Half teaspoon salt + Two pieces of tamarind + A dash of Asafoetida (Usually I avoid things like a “dash” but that’s literally it. The bottle is made like salt and pepper shakers so you literally just add a “dash” 😛 )
Learnings for the Day
- Indian names are much more easy to remember than western ones
- Grinding coconut is not for the weak at heart