Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney

I was wrong about chutney just like I was wrong about Dean. (And when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.) A year or so ago, I thought chutney was just another way of saying mango salsa. And just a month ago, I thought Dean was a really good-looking, semi-broken but ultimately sincere and decent-hearted man.

But now I know that there is a whole wide world of chutneys out there, one for all of us perhaps, and most importantly: that I am a fool because of course Dean is a shallow if not normal person with little self control and even less emotional maturity. If you guys don't know what I'm talking about, good for you! I've long justified watching The Bachelor / Bachelorette because I think it does reveal interesting, nuanced things about people / what strangers want for people, but I think what it has mostly, sadly revealed is how tricked we all are by good looks. (On the recommendation of one of my blog readers, I read a large chunk of Timothy Caulfield's Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?, which quotes Nancy Etcoff's Survival of the Prettiest: "We face a world where 'lookism' is one of the most pervasive but denied of prejudices." Pervasive but denied of! Totally. Because it's one of those things we all think we "know about already" so we think we won't fall victim to it, and yet here I am in 2017 and I thought Dean was some kind of 25-year-old diamond in the rough who by some strange accident ended up as a contestant on The Bachelor.)
Back to chutney, I've made a lot of them this past year, almost all hailing from Madhur Jaffrey, and yet the one I'm about to share with you is a variation from Samin Nosrat's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which seems to combine everything I ever wanted in a chutney, plus some coconut for good measure. (Note: shredding fresh coconut is a crazy intense chore. If you know of an Indian grocer, you'll almost certainly be able to find bags of the stuff there in the frozen section. Alternatively, I've used coconut flour and that works great too.)

The reason I love chutneys is because I don't cook a lot of meat and so we end up eating a lot of rice-and-egg-type meals. If you go ahead and add chutney to that, along with maybe some sautéed spinach, feta, and whole milk yogurt, you've got yourself a truly delicious, special meal. Plus, there is usually leftover chutney, which you can eat with all sorts of things, like scrambled eggs on a corn tortilla or roasted potatoes or as a condiment on your grilled cheese, etc.

As for lookism, I do see one upshot to our extreme human-nature-based vulnerability here: more variety of people in media. (Remember when everyone freaked out about Kate Moss because she was only 5' 6 and had a gap in her teeth? LOLOLOL.) OK, bye. Enjoy your chutney!
Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney adapted from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen shredded coconut (or 1/3 cup coconut flour, but beware that this stuff is crazy absorbent so you'll need to add more water, anywhere from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves
1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
12 or so fresh mint leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, stemmed (Obviously, go for the whole thing if you're feeling it.)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
1-2 tablespoons water

NOTE: I know you could use pre-ground cumin here, but for me, toasting the seeds and then grinding them myself in a mortar and pestle seems to do something very tiny for my soul. I always think I'll skip the added step and then I don't and then I'm glad.

Place the cumin seeds in a small dry skillet and set over medium heat. Swirl the pan constantly to ensure even toasting. Toast until the first few seeds begin to pop and emit a savory aroma, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Immediately dump the seeds into a mortar or a spice grinder. Grind finely with a pinch of salt.

Pulse the lime juice, coconut, and garlic together in a blender or food processor for 2 minutes until no large chunks remain. Add the cumin, cilantro, mint leaves, jalapeño, sugar, yogurt and pinch of salt and continue blending for another 2 to 3 minutes. If your blender is getting stuck and the mixture seems too thick, add a tablespoon or more of water. Taste and adjust for salt. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Keeps for about five days to a week in the refrigerator.


Matthew said...

I'm with ya all the way! Love chutneys (this one in particular) don't love dean.

Tim Mazurek said...

I have not watched Bachelor in Paradise and so I do not know why you are making up these lies about Dean, who I love. Whom?
Also, I like your haircut. xo

charlotte said...

Put apricot chutney on bread, add salami on top, then cheese. Grill until cheese is melted. You'll be so happy you'll forget that Deans of the world even exist. Presumably works with other chutneys. But have never bothered trying so great is the apricot/salami/cheese combo. Happy Friday.

Kara said...

I also like your haircut and I had no idea what you were talking about. At first I thought there was a Howard Dean scandal I hadn't heard of! But you had me at your post title and while I do not remember when anyone freaked out about Kate Moss except some Johnny Depp related hotel room trashing, I am always happy to hear about your turns as a thinking human! Also, I want dinner at your house. xoxo

Amelia Morris said...

@Tim Very proud of you for not watching Bachelor in Paradise. It's NOT great. Relatedly, I think my haircut was partially inspired by Raven's lack of one! :) :)

@Kara Howard Dean, lol. re: Kate Moss--I remember everyone being shocked that there was a "supermodel" who was only(!) 5' 6 and with a gap in between her teeth! Like, for a while there, I thought: wow. maybe even *I* could be a model?? Poor teenage girls! This reminds me: I'm going to post pictures of Serena Williams all over the house so my boys know what to worship. :) :)

Danielle said...

Trader Joe's just started carrying frozen coconut chunks! Also, I'm pretty sure lookism is how Ivanka Trump (and Jared) has made it this far (along with heaping doses of nepotism, $$$, white privilege, etc)...looking better and less garish than her gold-leafed father has given her a pass in more liberal/east coast/elite communities and allowed her claims of "feminism" and "liberalism" to go pretty unscrutinized even in the face of pretty ugly professional practices. It's crazy how pervasive this ism is. Did you see the Jon Hamm episodes of 30 Rock? He's so beautiful that he's told he's good at everything he ever does--and can't really do anything at all. Eventually, he accidentally chops off his own hands because he's really just a pretty coddled baby unable to function. Not that I'm hoping Ivanka will lose her hands...only metaphorically.

Unknown said...

I also have not been enamoured of chutneys. Perhaps if I try yours, I will be.

Glad to hear you're reading the book! Tim Caulfield now has a TV show coming out later this month. It's called "A User's Guide to Cheating Death." I've interviewed him about it and sounds fascinating ...


Kamini said...

The coconut serves primarily to thicken the chutney, so if you find it difficult to find, a small handful of cashews will serve the same purpose.
An Indian chutney is a perfect blend of spicy hot, tangy, salty, and very slightly sweet with a touch of bitterness. The heat comes from red or green chillis; the tanginess from tamarind, lemon juice, yogurt; the sweet, from jaggery or sugar (and the coconut provides a bit as well); the bitterness, from the tempering with mustard and fenugreek seeds. It is never cloyingly sweet and sticky - that is the British version!
Here is another favorite recipe of mine - a bell pepper and tomato chutney. In a bit of oil saute some onion, a few cashews, chopped bell pepper, tomato and some hot chillis (serrano'/jalapeno/red pepper flakes). (about twice as much each of bell pepper and tomato as onion and cashew). Season well with salt, add a pinch of sugar, and some tamarind, and cover and cook until the veggies are tender. If you don't have tamarind, add in some lemon juice once the veggies are cooked. Cool, and blend to a smooth paste adding very little water. In a small pan, heat around 2 teaspoons of oil until very hot and splutter a quarter teaspoonful of black mustard seeds and 3 - 4 fenugreek seeds, for a few seconds. Pour the oil and spices over the chutney, mix and serve. This is a great spread on toast!

Amelia Morris said...

@Danielle YES, totally remember that 30 Rock. re: Ivanka, it's really sad, frustrating, fascinating. I admit that when he was first elected, I tried to look at her/ her possible influence as something positive or hopeful. But alas, she's not going to save us. (How could she even find the time? I think about how much effort she must put into presenting as the beautiful woman her father has so continuously praised her for being.

@Stephanie M Thanks for the update!

amanda a. said...

So many things to love about this post... Dirty Dancing reference, check; Bachelor in Paradise disappointment, check; delicious chutney recipe, check :) Still haven't managed to see a BIP season, but have nevertheless been in disbelief about the Dean reveals. Stupid pretty single boys.

Katherine {eggton} said...

When I lived in France in the early 2000s, there was a reality TV show that featured men and women living on a very small yacht in the Mediterranean. As I recall, the entire group would vote one of the women off the boat each week. The women had to build alliances with men as friends or lovers, and also with the women because they had a vote, too. If you were a woman who got kicked off, YOU HAD TO JUMP OVERBOARD AND SWIM TO SHORE. I can't remember what happened at the end. At some point I became obsessed with a weekly show about young singing talents trying to make it big. Those poor women could still be swimming off the cost of Monaco for all I know.