A few nights ago, as I spooned huge quantities of this very moreish chutney into a bowl of soup, I was reminded of my first Indian meal.
Even at the tender age of 10 or so, I fancied myself an adventurous eater, and when my parents took my brother and I to Diwana, a South Indian vegetarian restaurant near London’s Euston Station, I ambitiously ordered a huge thali.
I quickly discovered that my tastebuds weren’t nearly as adventurous as I believed. A mysterious green substance – which I now know to have been something like this chutney – proved a particular challenge, and I spent the meal pushing my food around, annoyed with myself.
Happily our palates grow up as we do, so I post this recipe in memory of all those childish likes and dislikes that we throw off as we grow up. In my case, this has meant learning to love the crusts on my bread, developing a taste for gooey French cheese, finally learning how to eat rice without ketchup, and discovering a taste for this…
Initially, I hesitated to call this a chutney, as it makes a very loose mix that is best described as a ‘sprinkle’ and lasts just a few days in the fridge. However, it was inspired by a classic South Indian chutney and so I suppose the name might as well stay. My version was improvised from ingredients that were lurking in our fridge, and while I can’t make any claim to authenticity, it makes a delicious topping for a bowl of soup (pumpkin or dal work particularly well here), a meal of curry and rice, or eaten straight from the bowl – the latter being my preferred method, it seems – I’ve polished off most of it since I sat down to write…
Fresh Coriander & Coconut Chutney
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Quantity: Makes around 250g
From the market:
3 cloves garlic
1-2 small red chillis
60g fresh coriander/cilantro
From the cupboard/supermarket:
30g desiccated coconut
palm or brown sugar (not shown), to taste
salt, to taste
1. Pour 100ml hot water over the coconut and put aside to soak for 30mins.
3. Blend everything together, check seasoning, then enjoy!