Coconut and tamarind chutney
My grandmother was an expert in preparing tasty food from simple ingredients. Being the strong woman in a farmer’s family she cooked for an army in those days. There were kids, my dominating grandfather and the farmhands to be fed. She was the female head of a home and farm, had at least 5 cows, a bunch of chicken, a dog and some cats to care for. In addition to her 9 children she would have food for any guests or her brothers who dropped in unannounced. I wonder, how she managed them single handed and produced not-so-bad results.
I have always seen her busily buzzing around. My confession is that her magic touch that would turn a simple dish into a delicacy was not inherited 100% by the following generations. She bid us goodbye after her 90th birthday but she was quite active even a few days before that. Memories of her cooking still lingers on my taste buds.
My mom mentioned how she used to carry this chutney in her lunch of well cooked pink rice, a curry and a piece of fried fish. The hot rice would be placed on a banana leaf softened on fire and gift wrapped in news paper which would be held together by a string. Her lunch breaks were spiced by different types of chutneys.
This is my grandma’s signature side dish for hot rice, spicy mashed tapioca or a bowl of day old rice gruel (Kanji). Her chutney in a jiffy is called ‘Chutta thenga chammanthi’. The grinding was done on a rock grinder called ‘ammi’ and the taste was out of this world. I remember my grandma whenever I make this chutney.
Flame grill coconut pieces
Smash a coconut on a hard surface until it cracks. I use ‘man power’ (husband) to perform this operation. Cut the coconut flesh into small chunks and grill it on a gas flame or electric stove top using a skewer. Keep the fan going and fire gadgets ready…just kidding…but be careful to remove it away from fire as the oil from the coconut ignites.
- 1/2 coconut chopped and flame grilled
- a small chunk of tamarind
- 2 dried red chillies
- few curry leaves
Grind all the ingredients in a heavy duty mixer/blender. The coconut needs that extra power to mince it before grinding.
Heavy duty mixer
Flame grilled coconut chutney
Drizzle a little coconut oil or ghee on hot rice and mix this chutney and a pinch of salt and enjoy that tangy rich flavor.