Coconut Chutney Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Hot water rehydrates desiccated coconut for a smoother chutney.
  • A touch of tamarind and sugar adds brightness and balance.
  • Tempering the spices and urad dal in hot ghee or oil enhances their aromatics.

This is the blueprint for the classic coconut chutney, often eaten alongside idlis and dosai, although it's versatile enough to serve with grilled fish or vegetables. You can easily make it your own by adding green chilies, cilantro, or curry leaves.

Recipe Details

Coconut Chutney Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Serves 16 servings
Makes 2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon ghee or neutral oil (0.5 ounce; 15g)

  • 2 tablespoons chana dal, a.k.a. yellow split lentils (1 ounce; 30g)

  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened desiccated coconut (4.6 ounces; 130g)

  • 2/3 to 1 1/3 cups (156 to 312ml) hot water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seedless tamarind paste, not concentrate (0.3 ounce; 10g)

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) Kashmiri red chile powder

  • Kosher salt, to taste

For Tempering:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or neutral oil (1 ounce; 30g)

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) urad dal, a.k.a. split black gram lentils

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) black mustard seeds

  • 1 pinch ground asafoetida


  1. Heat ghee and chana dal in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast dal until fragrant and golden. Set aside.

  2. In a blender, combine coconut, hot water, tamarind paste, sugar, chili powder, and toasted chana dal. Blend until smooth, adding more water if needed to achieve a thick, hummus-like consistency. Season with kosher salt to taste. Transfer coconut chutney to a serving bowl.

  3. For Tempering: Heat ghee and urad dal in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once dal is lightly toasted, add mustard seeds and asafetida and fry until seeds begin to pop. Pour entire mixture over chutney and serve immediately. The chutney will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator (see note).


This chutney has a short shelf life and must be consumed within 2 to 3 days of preparing. If you need a smaller batch, the recipe can be halved or quartered and blended in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle instead.

Special Equipment


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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
98 Calories
8g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 98
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 98mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 88mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)