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  • Writer's picture Payal M.

Mum's Special Coconut Chutney

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

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Today's recipe is quite special! Mum's Special Coconut Chutney! It is another one of those recipes that Nani taught my mum. Mum talks about this Coconut chutney quite often, how tasty it is and how Nani used to make this when she visited with us. I also remember Nani making this Coconut chutney. She used to wake up much earlier than all of us and would start cooking special dishes. Let me tell you, waking up to the smell of shredded coconut (nariyal) frying is heavenly. Then once we were awake she would scold us for not waking up with the sun like she did every morning. Let's just say my family is not the type that wakes up with the sun. Lol. Sorry Nani. Anyways, this is a great recipe for using up extra shredded coconut and/or if you decided to buy a fresh coconut and now don’t know what to do with it, this would be a great recipe to try. This chutney complements a number of dishes but you can totally eat it as is or even as a curry for roti…yum!

We used a fresh coconut for this recipe but you can also use frozen shredded coconut.

While recording this recipe, I discovered that my parents brought their coconut grater from Fiji. It is basically a circular piece of metal with sharp serrations on it. Then the metal is attached to a piece of wood. So you sit on the wood part and the grate the coconut with the metal part. This tool is specifically made for grating coconuts. It is apparently called a "khuruchni". Video of how this is used is attached below.

I knew all this at some point I suppose but I have been living in the US for almost twenty years now. I am realizing that I have forgotten quite a number of things. Thus, it is nice to revisit and relearn things from my background and culture. Now I am looking at all these things as an adult and am able to value things differently. Some of the questions I have are about the origins of the khuruchni. Is this tool something my Indian ancestors brought with them from India? If they did, it seems like an odd thing to pack when being moved to another country. But then again my parents packed this as well. Or is this something that was developed in Fiji as we have tons of coconuts everywhere? Do native Fijians use this tool or is it something that the Indo-Fijians developed? If someone knows about the answers, please tell me!

Ok back to the recipe! Once you have the grated coconut, it should be lightly fried on medium heat without oil. Keep frying and stirring until lightly browned. Once this is done, cool the coconut for a bit, then add to food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Add water in the end a couple of tablespoons at a time until the consistency is correct. For this recipe, ten tablespoons was good enough. The final product should be finely ground, moist and should clump together a bit.

Mum's Special Coconut Chutney is nutty, spicy, aromatic and coconut-y (is this a word?)! What more do you need, I ask?!

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Serves 4

Prep time 30 minutes (includes time to prep coconuts)

Cook time 30 minutes


1 coconut grated

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp crushed ginger

1 tsp cumin seeds

Pinch of asafoetida

Salt to taste

2 tbsp lemon juice

10 tbsp water

2 Thai chilies (optional)

Handful of cilantro


  1. Clean and grate coconut. Or thaw frozen grated coconut.

  2. Cook on medium heat until slightly browned. Cook for five minutes.

  3. In a food processor, add browned grated coconut, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, cilantro and lemon juice as well.

  4. Grind until fine grind is established.

  5. Add water until chutney starts coming together. It is not necessary to use all 10 tbsp of water.

  6. Once chutney is of the desired consistency and grind, coconut chutney is done!

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