Coconut chutney was always served with dosas or idlis in India when I was growing up. It was made with fresh coconut, roasted peanuts, fresh mint and coriander. I didn’t have most of these at hand. Also, I find organic peanuts in Australia very expensive. So, I used the nuts that I did have in my pantry – brasil nuts, walnuts and cashew nuts. The combination is just da bomb!
Fresh coconut is anti-inflammatory, anti viral and anti bacterial. It is high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. It plays an important role in preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and for Alzheimers. It is a great aid to decrease and maintain your weight because it speeds up your metabolism. It is also high in iron, so eat them fresh if you need an iron boost.
Mustard seeds – Did you know that the teeny little mustard seeds contain the essential omega-3 fatty acid? It is also an excellent source of selenium which helps with heart health, decreasing the incidence of cancer, boosting your immunity, helps with healthy thyroid function and helps to reduce asthma symptoms.
Curry leaves – are another mighty nutritional powerhouse. They contain calcium, phosphorus, niacin, Vitamin C and iron. They help to reduce cholesterol levels and manage type 2 diabetes.
They help to reduce the effects of chemotherapy, is good for the eyes, it protects your liver, is anti bacterial, anti fungal, an antioxidant, helps to prevent cancer and is good for your hair and skin.
Got a burn? Reach for the curry leaves. The paste, if applied topically, can help with burns, stings and bites.
Phew! That’s a long list of nutritional benefits for this humble leaf.
Tamarind – is another super food used in Indian meals which has remarkable benefits.
It can used to treat snake bites, is anti-inflammatory (helps with joint pains and other inflammation in the body) and is an antioxidant (helps to reduce free radicals in our body that is caused by all the toxins around us).
How to choose a coconut?
Choose a coconut by looking at the the three eyes (or the dimples at the top of the coconut). These need to be light brown, not black or grey. If they are grey, you can bet your money on it being spoiled.
You can also shake it near your ear to hear the water sploshing around. If it’s fresh, you’ll hear lots of water (although this test has failed me several times).
How to break a coconut?
It’s pretty simple. Don’t be put off by its hard shell.
Do this outside or on a thick towel or doormat (if you can’t do it outside). I use a hammer. Keep a bowl nearby.
Tap the whole coconut several times, making sure you tap all round. Then go for it – whack it hard and keep going till it cracks in the middle. At this point, grab the bowl and put the coconut over it to collect the water.
Once drained, continue to whack the coconut until it breaks in half. You can then scoop out the meat using a butter knife. It should come out fairly easily if you have hammered it a fair bit.
You can add this to your kids lunch boxes, eat it plain, eat it with jaggery, blend it and add it to curries or make chutneys with it!
- ½ cup water more if required
- 1 whole fresh coconut
- 1 lime sized piece of tamarind
- Salt to taste
- 3-4 brasil nuts
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 2 tbsps cashew nuts
- Ghee to fry in or add coconut oil (if vegan)
- ¼ tsp black mustard seeds
- 6-8 curry leaves or a whole sprig
- Add the water and fresh coconut to a high speed blender
- Blend till all the coconut is shredded
- Add the salt and the tamarind and whizz till the tamarind is incorporated into the coconut
- Roast the nuts on a thick bottom pan on the stove top over low to medium heat until they are light brown and you can smell that lovely roasted smell
- Add the nuts into the blender with the coconut and whizz…you can smooth it out or keep it slightly crunchy (up to you)
- Empty the coconut chutney into a bowl
- Add the ghee into the same pan and add the mustard seeds
- Once the seeds pop, add the curry leaves and stir till they crisp up
- Add the ghee mix into the bowl with the coconut chutney and mix well