Thenga Chutney

Coconut Chutney
Makes l cup

This popular chutney from South India traditionally accompanies all snacks. Because every housewife has her own recipie for it, there are innumerable versions to be found. The recipie given here is my favorite. As a variation, I sometimes mince 1 cup fresh mint leaves along with the coconut. This chutney makes a good dip for Dumplings with Spinach and Black-Eyed Peas.

1/2 fresh coconut-(cut into I inch pieces)
1 inch fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 green chilli-(optional)
2 tbsp.water
to taste salt
4 tbsp. plain yogurt
I small onion
I tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. black mustard seed
7 dried curry leaves

In the container of a blender or food processor, blend the coconut, ginger, garlic, chile, and the water to a smooth paste. Transfer into a large bowl and mix in the salt and yoghurt. Slice the onion into thin half-rounds.
In a small heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook until the seeds splutter. Add the sliced onion and saute' until lightly browned (6 to 7 minutes). Add to the coconut mixture and stir well. Let cool, transfer to a bowl, and serve. Covered and refrigerated, this chutney will keep for a week.