It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today: Give even the simplest meal a flavor facelift by adding a spoonful of Nik from A Brown Table's bright, bold chutney.
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In my little kitchen, chutneys and pickles are my go-to ingredients for brightening up a simple meal with a burst of vibrant flavor. When I come home tired after a long day at work, I turn to Indian condiments as a quick and easy way to give a little kick to any meal, no matter how low-maintenance.
I love this particular chutney because it reminds me of growing up in Bombay, and everything about it is fresh and bold. My mom liked to serve it smothered between buttered slices of bread, but you can also eat it as a dip, a spread, or on the side of your meal. There are a million ways to make Indian coconut chutney, but this is a simplified version that doesn’t require too many spices.
To grate your own coconut, crack it with a hammer, holding it over a bowl to collect the water. Discard the outer shell and pull out the white flesh. Clean the white coconut meat of any fibers or shell using a clean paper towel or kitchen cloth. Then remove the outer brown skin using a vegetable peeler and chop the coconut into large chunks -- the food processor will do the grating.
6 ounces fresh coconut, chopped 1 bunch cilantro 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 2 to 3 Thai green chili peppers 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup water
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a blade.
Pulse until all of the ingredients are completely combined in a smooth paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally and add a little water to thin the chutney if it looks too thick. Remember to taste and adjust the quantities of salt and lime juice, if necessary.
Transfer to a serving dish and let the chutney sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator so that the flavors come together.
The chutney is best easten the day it is prepared, but you can store it in an airtight container for up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to 3 weeks in a freezer-safe, airtight container. Make sure to thaw it completely before serving, but avoid microwaving.
Nik Sharma is the writer, photographer, and recipe developer behind A Brown Table, an award-winning blog that has garnered best-ofs from Saveur, Better Homes & Gardens, and the International Association of Culinary Professions. His weekly column, A Brown Kitchen, appears in the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for Saveur, Taste, Food52, Eater, among others. His first cookbook, Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food was released on October 2018. He was also featured in America, the Great Cookbook. Nik lives in Oakland, California.