Above: Next to a tasty dosa (especially a paper dosa) and a spicy-tamarindy-tomatoey sambar, an anaemic looking coconut chutney is usually nothing to trumpet about. Then I met Aunty Chandra
I'd never really paid much attention to coconut chutney before. Sat next to the bowl of red sambar for my dosai (a South Indian breakfast-staple crepe), coconut chutney's dirty shade of white isn't the most inspiring colour. On the occasions I try it, it usually tastes like...watery paper mulch, sometimes with a touch of salt. Who's got the time and spare calories, know what I mean?
So when Auntry Chandra -- the wife of Uncle Anand, Babs's Dad's buddy from medical school -- served coconut chutney with breakfast when we stayed with her in Mangalore in December, I dipped in initially only out of politeness.
It kicked me awake and almost off my chair. My mouth was literally watering, triggered by a refreshing sour twang. As were my eyes -- always a good sign of chili-heat. Or happiness. Sometimes it's hard to tell.
I kept dipping. Then digging. In that familiar gentle but determined race with Babs to the bottom of the bowl.
Enough preamble. I need to learn how to make this. So do you. Thankfully Aunty Chandra graciously obliges, much amused.
Makes 2-3 portions
1 saucer of freshly grated coconut
2 green chilis
1 thumb-sized stem of ginger, skinned
1 seed taramind, de-seeded
Combine with a splash of water and grind in a food processor. Add water a little bit at a time and continue grinding until you get this consistency (below).