Coconut chutney recipe with 8 variations – Coconut chutney is the quintessential South Indian condiment relished as a side with breakfasts and snacks. Fresh & absolutely vibrant with bursting flavors, you are going to love this versatile delicious & healthy condiment. Whether you use fresh or frozen coconut, this post will help you make a delicious coconut chutney with 8 different variations. Serve them with any Indian breakfasts like soft idli, crispy dosa, fluffy vada, Pongal, uttapam or evening snacks like sandwiches & pakoras. Not to forget a thick chutney also goes well with rice!
Coconut chutney is beyond easy to make! At home we make it at least 3 to 4 times a week since it is the perfect partner for all Indian dishes. My family loves a change each time, so over the years I have perfectioned making so many variations of coconut chutney which I have shared in this post. With spicy and nutty flavors, these will surely impress your entire family including kids!
Table of contents
What is coconut chutney?
Coconut chutney is a traditional South Indian condiment made by blending fresh coconut meat with chillies, cumin, ginger and salt. It is later optionally tempered with oil, mustard seeds, dried red chilies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
Chutney is a savory condiment originated in India and is made with a myriad of ingredients like vegetables, fruits, nuts, lentils, herbs and the list is endless. You name it and you can find a chutney in some or the other regional cuisine.
Coconut chutney originated in South India and was a traditional staple especially in the coastal regions where coconuts were grown in abundance. So there are many different ways to make coconut chutney with varying ingredients.
The most basic chutney uses common ingredients like green chilies, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds and salt. Green chilies add heat to the chutney while ginger, garlic and cumin add various flavors to the condiment.
Ingredients like roasted gram (roasted Bengal gram), tamarind, red chilies, shallots and Bengal gram are also used in some variations. Herbs like coriander leaves, curry leaves and even mint are used for an herby flavor and to enhance the nutritional values of the coconut chutney.
1. Basic chutney (hotel style)
You can make so many variations to this basic coconut chutney like adding some mint, coriander leaves, garlic, lemon juice, tamarind, curry leaves etc. You can also make getti chatni / thick chatni that is served in banana leaf in Tiffin Hotels. Recipe is the same as below, but grind with less water to make a thick chutney.
1. Add ¾ cup coconut to a blender jar. You can use fresh or frozen.
2. Add 1½ to 2 tablespoons fried gram. It is also known as roasted gram. If you don’t have these then you can add the same amount of roasted peanuts. Another substitute is to roast chana dal (bengal gram) until golden and crunchy. Then add it here. If you do not add any of these, after a while water will separate in the chutney.
3. Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 to 2 green chilies, 1/8 inch ginger (or 1 garlic). You can also add a handful of fresh coriander leaves with tender stalks. If you like to use tamarind, read tips below.
4. Pour ¼ cup water and begin to blend to a smooth chutney. Scrape the sides and add more water as needed.
5. After blending, taste test the chutney and add more salt or green chilli if needed.
6. Transfer to a serving bowl.
7. Heat a small tadka pan with 1 to 2 teaspoons oil. When the oil turns hot, add ¼ teaspoon mustard, 1 broken red chilli, 1 pinch urad dal (optional for flavor) and 5 to 6 curry leaves. Soon the leaves will turn crisp, then turn off and add 1 pinch of hing.
Pour this hot tempering over the coconut chutney. You can find 7 more variations below.
2. Coriander coconut chutney
Most people love this one as it gets a unique flavor from the fresh coriander leaves used. Some restaurants use chana dal and urad dal both instead of fried gram to make this chutney. This one goes well not only with idli, dosa, vada, pakoras but also can be used to spread in your kathi rolls & sandwiches.
¼ cup chopped or ½ cup grated coconut
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves with tender stalks
2 tablespoons fried gram (or 1½ tablespoon chana dal & ½ tablespoon urad dal)
¼ inch ginger
1 to 2 green chilies
salt as needed
tamarind as needed
½ teaspoon cumin
Tempering/ Seasoning (optional)
1 teaspoon oil
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 broken red chili
¼ tsp cumin seeds (optional)
1 sprig curry leaves
pinch of hing
How to make
1. I used chana dal and urad dal here. On a medium heat, firstly dry roast both the dals until golden and aromatic. Later when they turn golden, turn off and add cumin.
2. Cool all of these and add to a blender along with rest of the ingredients (excluding tempering ingredients). Pour ¼ cup water and blend adding more water to bring it to a consistency. Blend to a smooth thick chutney.
3. For tempering, heat oil in a small pan. Next add mustard, cumin and red chilies. When the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and hing. Once the leaves turn crisp pour this to the chutney. Give a stir and serve.
3. Simple red chutney
This is a simple one which I at times make when I do not have green chilies. It is different from the kerala style red coconut chutney. It is very aromatic and tastes nutty.
½ cup grated coconut or chopped
1 ½ tbsps chana dal for aroma or fried gram / bhuna chana
2 shallots or small onions (optional)
3 to 4 red chillies (kashmiri or byadgi)
¾ tsp tamarind paste or little tamarind soaked in hot water
1 to 2 small sized garlic cloves
Salt as needed
Water as needed
¾ tbsp. oil
¼ tsp mustard
¼ tsp cumin seeds
½ to ¾ tsp urad dal
Pinch of hing
1 sprig curry leaves
small crushed garlic clove
1 broken red chili
Method: Heat a tsp oil and roast red chilies, chana dal until golden. Add shallots and saute for a minute. Cool and then blend with other ingredients. If using fried gram just blend all the ingredients without onion. Lastly add water as needed. Temper as mentioned above in the recipe card.
Tip to make the chutney smooth you need a heavy duty blender otherwise soak the roasted red chilies for some time in water before blending.
4. Mint coconut chutney
One of the best chutney to start your day as it ignites the digestive fire and keeps the digestion good for the whole day. This chutney is great not only for breakfasts but tastes wonderful when accompanied with fried snacks like bonda, vada, kathi rolls, wraps and even sandwiches.
You can find a detailed step by step guide here on this post of pudina chutney. Brief recipe here.
½ cup fresh coconut chopped
¼ to ½ cup pudina/ mint (loosely packed)
2 to 3 green chilies
1 tbsp roasted gram (bhuna chana) (or ¾ tbsp chana dal & ¾ tbsp urad dal)
½ inch ginger or 1 to 2 garlic cloves
½ tsp cumin
Salt as needed
Lemon juice little or 1 tsp tamarind paste
Oil as needed
1 red chili broken
¼ tsp mustard
½ tsp urad dal
Pinch of hing
Method: If using roasted gram, just add all the ingredients and blend first. Then add water little by little and blend. If using chana and urad dal dry roast them on a medium flame until golden. Then add cumin seeds and stir. Turn off the stove. The heat in the pan will roast the cumin seeds enough.
Cool and add them to a grinder jar along with mint leaves, ginger, green chilies, lemon juice, coconut and salt. Blend them first to make a coarse chutney. Then scrape the sides and add water. Blend until smooth. Temper as mentioned in the first method.
5. Dried coconut chutney
This recipe uses dried coconut known as Copra. It is a great alternate to fresh coconut. There are many places where fresh coconut is not available. Sometimes I make this chutney as dried coconut is high in calcium and has a higher nutrition profile.
This dried coconut chutney turns on the sweeter side as most times copra is naturally sweet. If you do not prefer sweet taste then choose copra that doesn’t taste sweet.
Recipe: Roast 3 to 4 red chilies in a 1 tsp oil until crisp. Remove them to a plate and fry 2 tbsps chana dal or peanuts until golden & aromatic. Add half tsp cumin and 3 to 4 garlic cloves. Fry for 30 seconds. Cool these and blend with half cup chopped dried coconut and salt to a smooth powder.
For a dry coconut chutney we use roasted gram, more garlic and red chilies. Add more salt, chili and tamarind if needed.
Then pour water as needed if you want to make a wet chutney. You can also add little tamarind (optional). Blend the coconut chutney to a smooth paste. If you desire do a tempering.
6. Raw mango chutney with coconut
Made with fresh raw mango, coconut, chilies, garlic and other basic ingredients. This mango coconut chutney is great to enjoy with any paratha, roti, snacks or breakfasts. Check the full recipe post of mango chutney here
To make this mango coconut chutney, Fry 1 tbsp of urad dal & green chilies in 1 tsp oil until golden. Then add half teaspoon cumin seeds to the hot pan. Turn off the stove and cool them. Blend them together with half inch ginger, salt, half cup grated coconut, 3 tbsp water & half cup cubed raw mango.
Then temper the chutney as mentioned in the recipe card below.
7. Kobbari Carrot chutney
This can be made in 2 ways either by sautéing the carrots for a short time or using them raw. You can check the full recipe post of carrot chutney here
I prefer to use raw carrot for this chutney. Tender & young carrots taste very good. Fry 1 tbsp chana dal & green chilies in 1 tsp oil until golden and aromatic. Cool and blend with half cup coconut, half cup chopped carrots, 1 garlic clove or a small piece of ginger, 2 to 3 tbsps water, salt & half tsp cumin seeds.
Lastly temper the chutney with mustard, curry leaves & red chili following the recipe card.
8. Kobbari capsicum chutney
I make this whenever I am left with a piece of capsicum after using it in other recipes. The coconut chutney seen in this picture is made with green capsicum and coconut. However you can also use red or yellow capsicum. You can also find similar recipes of capsicum chutney here.
½ cup coconut (tightly packed or ½ cup chopped pieces)
3 tablespoons roasted gram (fried gram, chutney dal)
1 cup chopped capsicum (any color, I used green here)
1 teaspoon oil (more if tempering)
½ inch ginger
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 1 teaspoon tamarind paste)
Salt to taste
3 to 4 Green chilies (adjust to taste)
Wash and chop capsicum to cubes, slit green chilies. Pour 1 teaspoon oil to a pan. Add ginger and green chilies. Saute them for a minute, then add the bell peppers. Saute all of them until the bell peppers turn soft. Then add cumin seeds and stir. Turn off the stove.
If using frozen coconut you may saute it in the same pan until slightly hot.
Cool all the ingredients and transfer them to a grinder jar along with roasted gram, salt & lemon juice. You may want to set a few green chilies aside. You can add them later if needed.
Blend to a smooth chutney adding water as needed. The amount of water to add depends on the capsicum. Taste test and add more salt or fried green chilies.
I usually don’t temper this. But you can do it by heating 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan. Add a pinch of mustard, 1 pinch of urad dal, 1 broken dried red chilli and crushed garlic clove. When the urad dal turns golden, add curry leaves and hing. Turn off and pour this to the capsicum coconut chutney.
Substitutes: Roasted gram can be substituted with chana dal or Bengal. But it has to roasted first on a low to medium heat until lightly brown or deep golden. Cool and add directly to the grinder jar along with other ingredients.
1. Coconut is the star of this chutney. So always use fresh coconut or frozen one. Though desiccated coconut can be used, it does not yield a really good chutney. If using frozen coconut, thaw it in the refrigerator and not in the microwave.
We make coconut chutney even with copra or dried coconut (not desiccated coconut) following the same recipe mentioned in the recipe card. This chutney will be naturally sweet and very aromatic.
2. Fried gram or bhuna chana is one of the ingredient that is used in the chutney. It adds a thick texture & a nutty aroma to the coconut chutney. If you are not accessible to it, just replace it with chana dal or bengal gram. It has to be roasted until deep golden & used.
3. Chilies are used to add heat & spice to the coconut chutney. Green chilies are the best choice but red chilies can also be used. Just fry the red chilies in hot oil until crisp and then blend them with other ingredients.
4. Tamarind or lemon juice : I do not add tamarind or lemon when it is made to serve with idli dosa as the batter already has a faint hint of sourness.
To use tamarind, soak very little tamarind in little hot water. Squeeze up the pulp and filter this. Use this along with plain water as needed to grind. If using lemon juice, add it towards the end.
Coconut chutney made with lemon juice goes good with snacks like vada, masala vada, pakoras, sandwiches etc.
Refrigerating coconut chutney
It is best to consume coconut chutney with in few hours of preparing. However it keeps good for two days if stored in a air tight steel or glass container. A fresh hot seasoning to the refrigerated chutney brings back all the freshness.
If you plan to refrigerate it then just blend coconut, salt, cumin, green chilies & ginger with some water. You can also use mint & coriander leaves.
But avoid using ingredients like onion, roasted gram, peanuts & tamarind. These ingredients will alter the taste of the coconut chutney.
How to make white coconut chutney?
If you are someone like my kids who fancy the white coconut chutney that doesn’t turn green or cream color, then here are the tips to follow:
Use only white coconut gratings, avoid brown parts.
Next use only small hot green chilies, avoid long and thick green chilies.
There must be more coconut and less fried gram in the coconut chutney. For half cup grated coconut, 1 tsp of fried gram would be sufficient.
Yes you can make coconut chutney with frozen coconut. To avoid the fats separating from the pulp, it is best to heat the frozen coconut slightly in a pan until warm or soak it in slightly hot water for 5 minutes. Blending very cold frozen coconut may sometimes separate the fats from the pulp.
You can store coconut chutney in the fridge for 2 days (48 hours). To retain the freshness, flavor and taste it is best to refrigerate it immediately after making.
Chutney is basically a condiment which you can serve with anything you love – with appetizers, snacks, breakfasts or a side to enhance the flavor of your meal.
You can eat coconut chutney with idli, dosa, vada, poori, Pongal, upma, bonda, goli baji, roti, chapatti, uttapam and many more. You can also serve it with rice.
Yes coconut chutney is good for health. It has a good amount of healthy fats, protein and other essential nutrients. However it should be noted that too much of coconut in your diet may not be healthy so moderation is the key.
Coconut chutney recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¾ cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen) or ¼ cup chopped
- 1½ to 2 tablespoons fried gram (or chana dal or peanuts)
- ⅛ inch ginger piece (or 1 garlic clove)
- 2 green chilies (adjust to taste) or red chilies
- ¼ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or jeera
- ¼ to ⅓ cup water (use as needed)
- ¼ cup coriander leaves or 10 to 12 mint leaves (optional)
- lemon juice or little tamarind soaked in hot water (optional)
seasoning or tadka (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 red chili broken
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ¼ teaspoon mustard or rai
- 1 pinch hing or asafoetida
- Add coconut, ginger or garlic, cumin, green chilies,salt & fried gram to a blender or chutney jar.
- If you do not have fried gram dry roast peanuts or chana dal until golden and aromatic.
- Cool all the ingredients and add them to the jar.
- Blend all the ingredients well without adding water. This helps to get smooth chutney. Scrape the sides.
- Blend until smooth. Pour water as needed and blend to get a smooth coconut chutney.
- Taste it and add more salt and chilies if needed. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl.
Optional – Tempering coconut chutney
- Heat a pan with 1 teaspoon oil. When the oil turns hot, add mustard seeds. (I also add a pinch of urad dal & it is optional.)
- Soon they will crackle, then add broken red chili and curry leaves.
- When the curry leaves turn crisp, add hing and pour this over the coconut chutney.
- Serve coconut chutney with dosa, idli, vada or pongal.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This post was first published in April 2015. Updated & republished on 19th December 2020.