South Indian Coconut Chutney

Coconut chutney
Charles Haynes/Wikimedia Commons
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: Serve 4-6
Ratings (29)

Coconut is a popular ingredient in South Indian cooking and South Indian Coconut Chutney makes the most of it. This mild chutney is not just the perfect companion for Idlis (south Indian steamed rice cakes), Dosas (south Indian rice and lentil pancakes) and Uttapams (south Indian rice pancakes), it is the perfect accompaniment or side dish to lots of other foods. It also a terrific sandwich spread! 

This recipe is my Aunt's and I was able to coax her to share it. I have eaten it since I was a little girl so I can vouch for its awesome taste. Coconut chutney is best made and eaten fresh but you can also prepare it ahead of time and freeze it... just thaw and temper it when you are ready to eat. Its mild flavours make it a hit with all ages. Once you get the hang of making this version, feel free to experiment and add stuff to it to make the recipe your own. I have added some tips for combinations, at the end of the recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 fresh coconut grated
  • To temper the Chutney: 2 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil/ ghee or a mixture of both
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp urad daal (yellow lentil). You can also use roasted chickpeas (skins removed) as a substitute.
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

How to Make It

  1. Grind the grated coconut into a fine paste in the food processor. Keep aside for later use.
  2. To temper the chutney, in a small pan, heat the vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil/ ghee (or a mixture of both) and when hot add the mustard seeds, curry laves, dry red chillies and urad daal/ roasted chickpeas. Sauté, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until all the ingredients are slightly darker and aromatic.
  1. Remove from the heat and add to the previously made coconut paste. Add salt to taste and serve with Indlis, Dosas, Vadas or Uttapam!


  • Tomatoes are a great addition this chutney and give it a slightly tangy taste. To add tomato, grind 1 large tomato into a fine paste with the coconut.
  • Ginger adds a lovely flavour too! Just like the tomato, if adding ginger, grind it to a fine paste with the coconut.
  • Increase or decrease the chillies you add according to taste for a hotter or milder chutney. For a hot chutney, add fresh, green chillies according to taste, when grinding the coconut up.
  • For a green version this chutney, add a handful of coriander and mint leaves to the coconut while grinding it.
  • Many Indian groceries sell an ingredient called 'chutney chana' which is basically roasted chickpeas.
  • Don't struggle with opening a coconut anymore... Here's how you do it easily.