This is my mom's tomato coconut chutney recipe that I have been making for several years. Bursting with the goodness of coconut and the tanginess of tomatoes, this chutney adds a taste of home to our favourite South-Indian breakfast dishes like dosa, idli, appam, vada etc.
This is a basic tomato chutney with coconut that you can make in less than 10 minutes - excluding the cooling time. On some lazy mornings, I skip the sambar and idli and just make dosa and chutney and have it with a fried egg. My kinda comfort food on a day you just want to relax. Let's look at what you will need to make this thick and creamy tomato chutney with coconut.
This tomato coconut chutney is made without garlic but has a bit of ginger. As I am an expat, I buy freshly grated coconut and freeze them. If you are planning to use frozen grated coconut, make sure it is thawed completely before you add it to the blender.
- grated coconut
- ripe tomatoes
- red onion
- dried red chilli
- mustard seeds
- urad dal
- curry leaves
See recipe card for quantities.
I am sharing the steps here with images but you can access the recipe card by scrolling further down.
So, how to make tomato coconut chutney? Let's dive into the making of my mom's coconut red chutney. I used to call it red chutney and her curry leaves chutney was green coconut chutney. Okay, now follow these simple steps to recreate my favourite chutney recipe and don't forget to tell me if you loved it.
Heat 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add roughly chopped red onion and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
Next, add the dried red chillies and chopped ginger and sauté until the ingredients release a fragrant aroma.
Now, add the chopped tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and cook on medium heat until they become soft and mushy, stirring occasionally.
This will take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. We only want the tomatoes to break and get soft. Don't need it to become a sauce.
Season the mixture with salt to taste. Switch off and add grated coconut. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Remove the pan from the hob and let it cool.
Allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature. Transfer the cooled mixture to a blender or food processor.
Blend until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. You don't need to add any water to blend.
Transfer the blended chutney to the serving bowl. Don't forget to add a little water to clean out the jar. No wasting. Now, get on to prepare the tadka (tempering)
How to do tadka?
In a separate small pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Next, reduce the heat and add the urad dal. Once the dal starts to turn golden, add the curry leaves. Switch off and swirl the pan before pouring this sizzling tadka over the blended chutney. Mix well to combine the flavours.
In case you're missing some ingredients for this tomato coconut chutney, here are a few handy substitutions that I have tried and loved too:
- Coconut Oil: Try using sesame oil aka gingelly oil. You can use any other neutral cooking oil too.
- Red Onion: If red onions aren't available, try using shallots or yellow onions.
- Dried Red Chillies: Red pepper flakes can work as alternatives for dried red chillies. You may add fresh green chillies, it is okay to do that.
- Ginger: Ground ginger can be used instead of fresh ginger, with a pinch of it being roughly equivalent to a thumb-tip size of fresh ginger.
- Tomatoes: Canned tomatoes or tomato paste can be substituted for fresh tomatoes, but adjust the quantity to taste.
- Grated Coconut: Unsweetened desiccated coconut is a suitable replacement for freshly grated coconut. You may have to add water to rehydrate it.
Feel free to get creative with these substitutions to tailor the chutney to your taste and what's available in your kitchen!
My mom's tomato coconut chutney is super versatile, so you can experiment with various tasty variations:
- Roasted Peanuts: Incorporate roasted peanuts for added crunch and a nutty flavour.
- Garlic: If you love garlic, toss in a few cloves while sautéing the onions for a robust garlic-infused tomato chutney.
- Tamarind: Include a small amount of tamarind pulp or paste for an extra tangy kick.
To prepare this spicy coconut tomato chutney, you'll need the following basic kitchen equipment:
- Pan or Skillet: An 8 to 9-inch pan for sautéing the onions, ginger, and tomatoes. I don't use my cast iron skillet for this recipe as it includes tomatoes.
- Blender or Food Processor: to blend the sautéed mixture into a smooth chutney. I use the mini chutney jar of my mixie grinder.
- Small tadka pan: For tempering the mustard seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves.
- Grater (if needed): If you're using fresh coconut, a grater will be necessary to grate the coconut.
These basic kitchen tools should cover everything you need to make this delicious chutney.
If you happen to have leftover tomato coconut chutney, then it is best stored in the fridge and consumed within 2 to 3 days. When you want to have it, take it out and let it come to room temperature. You can have it like that or reheat it microwave or stove with a dash of water.
If you made a big batch, then you can also freeze the chutney. Place it in a freezer-safe container or an ice cube tray for portioned servings. Seal it well to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for a month for the best flavour. Thaw in the refrigerator before use.
The tadka is crucial step that adds flavour and brings the chutney to life. So it can make or break the taste. Do not skip it nor step away from the pan. Dedicate two minutes of uninterrupted focus to ensure your ingredients don't get burnt.
Yes, you can prepare this chutney in advance and store it in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for longer storage. Just follow the storage instructions mentioned earlier.
Absolutely! You can control the spiciness by adding more or fewer dried red chillies. Adjust to your preference.
It's a versatile condiment that pairs wonderfully with South Indian dishes like dosas, idlis, and vadas, and even with lemon rice or parathas.
Yes, you can use canned tomatoes, but fresh ones often provide a better flavor. Adjust the quantity based on your taste.
If it's too thick for you, then add a little water and adjust the seasoning. If it's too thin, add more ground grated coconut to thicken it.
Yes, this tomato coconut chutney is vegan as long as you use coconut oil for tempering.
Looking for other recipes using grated coconut? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with tomato coconut chutney:
Tomato Coconut Chutney
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- small red onion
- 2 to 3 dried red chillies (adjust)
- 1 teaspoon ginger thumb tip size
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- ½ cup grated coconut
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon urad dal
- curry leaves
- Heat coconut oil in a shallow pan.2 teaspoon coconut oil
- Add chopped red onion and sauté until the onions turn translucent.small red onion
- Add the dried red chillies and ginger and sauté the ingredients release a fragrant aroma.2 to 3 dried red chillies, 1 teaspoon ginger
- Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Season with salt and cook until they become soft and mushy, stirring occasionally.2 medium-sized tomatoes, salt to taste
- Add the grated coconut and give a good mix. Switch off and allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature.½ cup grated coconut
- Transfer the cooled mixture to a blender or food processor. Blend until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Remove the content to a serving bowl.
- Use a few tablespoons of water to wipe clean the blender and add it to the bowl. Stir, taste and adjust the salt if required.salt to taste
- In a separate small pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.1 tablespoon coconut oil, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- Next, reduce the heat to low-medium and add the urad dal. Let them turn golden before you can add the curry leaves.½ teaspoon urad dal, curry leaves
- Switch off and pour the hot tadka over the bowl of chutney. Your Coconut Tomato Chutney is ready to be served! Enjoy it with hot dosas, idlis, or as a tasty accompaniment to any South Indian meal.
- If you are planning to use frozen grated coconut, make sure it is thawed completely before you add it to the blender.
- You can double this recipe but increase dried red chillies only according to the spice.
Here is a good read about Indian chutney. I loved the Chutney map of India.