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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Special mention - Coconut

God's own country, Kerala.

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Think of this land of backwaters and luscious greenery and you think of long winding canals lined with coconut trees. Not just Kerala food, but cuisines from southern karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are known for extensive use of coconut, banana and jackfruit. No meal is ever cooked with out coconut making an appearance in the ingredients list (at least for one dish).

Coconut and banana in particular are two wonder plant varieties. I call them this because every part of the plant species are used in some form or the other. Take the case of coconut, apart from the edible part of this "nut". shells, fiber and the roots are used to make different things to fit into our lifestyle. Coir mattresses, ropes, door mats, carpets and much more. Icing on the cake being, any product made from coconut coir is eco-friendly and supports small and medium scale industry in regions where coconut palm grows is in abundance.

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Can you imagine eating a plate of Idli, dosai / dosa or oothappam with out that cup of fresh chutney? People familiar with coconut chutney would know what I mean!!!

We can make two simple varieties of coconut "dips" (too much of Food One being the simple raw ingredients chutney and the other roasted ingredients thuvayal (or kobbari pacchadi in telugu)

I thought I would write about two very yummy coconut chunteys in this is the simple coconut chutney and the other a slight twist to the usual chutney called the Manga-thenga chutney

Coconut Chutney (serves 4)

what you need
Raw coconut - 1 cup
putana /groundnut/almonds - 2 tbps
Green chillies - 4/5
Tamarind - 1 small strip
salt - to suit your taste
hing - 1 pinch
curry leaves

Grind everything together and temper it with mustard seeds, urad dal and red chilli (optional)

The variation I was talking about is called the Manga-thenga chutney (raw mango and coconut respectively in tamil).

What you need

Raw coconut (shredded) - 1 cup
Raw mango - (cubed/chopped with the skin) - 2tbsp
roasted groundnuts - 2 tbps
Green chillies -2
Red chillies -1
Sun dried tomatoes - 4-5 pieces
salt - to suit your taste
hing - 1 pinch

curry leaves
cilantro/coriander leaves

Grind everything together and temper as usual with mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal and red chilly. Garnish with cilantro(coriander leaves)

Enjoy these chutneys with idli, dosai, adai or pesarattu. or mix in curd to make a yummy thayir pacchadi or raitha! PS: Coming up...Coconut thuyaval and more on my love for this very versatile "fruit. Until then take care and eat healthy!

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