Toasted Coconut Chutney

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  12 servings (1½ cups total)
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  25 minutes

Toasted Coconut Chutney

This coconut chutney is simple, yet it’s one of the most versatile recipes I have—it goes with almost everything. You can eat it with grilled or broiled fish, you can eat it with falafel, fried eggplant or zucchini or as a dip for a crudité platter. It’s good as soon as it’s made, but it develops a more delicate taste as it sits. The ground bay leaves are the real secret; they add a soft, floral note. It will last for about 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted (see Kitchen Tip)

4 large dried bay leaves

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, or plain labneh or kefir

1 dried red Thai bird chili pepper, stemmed and seeds removed

½-inch piece ginger, peeled

Juice and zest of 1 lime

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coconut oil or red palm oil

½ teaspoon black mustard seeds (or 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds)

Instructions

  1. If the shredded coconut is not pre-toasted, toast it now according to the instructions in the Kitchen Tip.
  2. Crack the bay leaves into a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and pulse to grind completely.
  3. In a blender, combine the yogurt, coconut, chili pepper, ginger, lime juice and zest, salt and bay leaves and blend until completely combined and smooth.
  4. Heat a small sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and mustard seeds and cook, stirring gently, for 20 to 25 seconds, just until the seeds become fragrant. Be careful—they may pop if they cook longer.
  5. Pour the oil and seeds over the chutney mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Toasted shredded coconut is available in stores, but it’s easy to do yourself. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Scatter the coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, mixing every 3 minutes and watching carefully to make sure that it does not burn, for a total of about 9 minutes, or until lightly browned. Note that sweetened coconut will toast a little faster than unsweetened, so adjust the timing accordingly.
  2. The chemicals in chili peppers that cause that wonderful feeling of heat on the tongue can cause a not-so-wonderful feeling if they get into your eyes—and can share the love with other foods on your menu. To avoid cross-contamination, avoid touching your face or eyes after cutting and trimming hot chilies. Change work surfaces and knives. Some cooks wear plastic gloves.

 

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