So you know how much work it is to make Coconut Choka – first you got to roast the coconut, grate it and then grind it; the first two steps are easy, it is that last bit, the grinding (best done with a lorha and sil/ sil batta) that is time consuming and makes one reluctant to make the choka. Well, with this recipe, you get all the flavour of the Coconut Choka with less work. It is obvious that the texture is different – the choka being dry and the chutney being wet – but trust me, I think you will enjoy this just as much. This Roasted Coconut Chutney has in all the flavours that make Coconut Choka exceptional – smoky, nutty, garlicky, and hot with a hint of tartness. The first time I made this chutney, I was eating it by the spoonful, by itself!
1 whole coconut, cracked in half (or cracked into pieces and flesh removed)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons oil
- Chopped hot pepper, to taste
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 12 – 14 curry leaves (see notes below)
- ¼ – 1/3 cup room temperature water
- Tamarind pulp, to taste
- Salt to taste
- Roast the coconut flesh over an open flame until deeply browned and charred in various parts. When cool to handle, scrape off the black bits. Do not worry if you don’t get it all; it adds flavour to the chutney.
- Chop the coconut into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Add the oil to a small frying pan and place over medium heat.
- Fry pepper, garlic and curry leaves in heated oil until the pan is fragrant and the garlic is golden.
- Add the water first, then the coconut and fried aromatics (garlic, pepper and curry leaves) to the jug of a blender. Pulse to blend/puree the mixture. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a couple of times. If more water is needed, add 1 – 2 tablespoons as a time. The mixture should be wet but runny or watery; the ingredients need to be completely pureed.
- Add tamarind pulp and salt to taste. Pulse to mix in well.
- Transfer chutney to a bowl and serve.
- Curry leaves/kariveppilai/sweet neem gives a distinct flavour to any dish to which it has been added but it is not absolutely necessary for this chutney because it is the roasted coconut that is the star of this dish.
- The amount of garlic and water needed would vary depending on the size of the coconut; for this recipe, I used an average-sized coconut.