January 18, 2013

Tamil Coconut Chutney Recipe-Thengai Chutney Recipe (for Idli-Dosa)

There are so many different variations to South Indian Coconut Chutney Recipes. However, this basic Tamil-Style Coconut Chutney that's my easiest chutney recipe for idli or dosa keeps us all grounded in its simplicity and maybe I can say authenticity too?

In Kerala, Coconut Chutneys are made with just coconut as the main ingredient but in Tamil Nadu, Pottukadalai or Roasted Bengal Gram is almost always added to coconut chutney. This gives more body and thickness to the chutney, not to mention makes it a bit more economic for hotels to serve generously (In Kerala, they just add water to the chutney generously, making it even more economic for them!). So let's check out how to make this easy Tamil Thengai Chutney to serve with idli, dosa, pongal, upma, etc.

Tamil Hotel-Style Coconut Chutney-Thengai Chutney Recipe

During our annual visits to Salem to my athamma's place, we'd always eat this Tamil Nadu style coconut chutney which was such a welcome break to us because it was so different from what we were used to back home and also because it somehow felt right having it with idli or dosa for breakfast in a different place when you are on vacation.

Tamil Coconut Chutney-Thengai Chutney Recipe (for Idli-Dosa)

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Serves 4

1 cup of grated coconut
1/3 cup of pottukadalai or roasted Bengal gram
2-3 green chillies (adjust to your heat levels)
3/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp of oil
1/4 tsp of musard seeds
1/4 tsp of ulutham paruppu or urad dal
5-6 curry leaves
1 fat pinch of perungaayam or hing

How to make Hotel-Style Thengai Chutney:

1. Grind the coconut, pottukadalai, green chillies, and salt with enough water into a smooth chutney base. You can make the consistency as loose or as thick as you prefer. We prefer chutney on the thicker side.
Tamil Hotel-Style Coconut Chutney-Thengai Chutney Recipe

2. Heat the oil in a tadka pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the urad dal and fry until golden, followed by the hing, and curry leaves. Remove from fire and drunk into the prepared chutney. Mix well. Adjust salt if you need to.
Tamil Hotel-Style Coconut Chutney-Thengai Chutney Recipe

That's it! Hotel-style Thengai Chutney for your Idli or Dosa is ready.

Tamil Hotel-Style Coconut Chutney-Thengai Chutney Recipe


- Amma sometimes adds the chutney into the tadka pan, heats it a bit (don't boil) and then transfers back to a bowl. You can follow that method too.

- You can add a small piece of ginger or a couple of cloves of garlic to the coconut chutney while grinding if you prefer. I have also seen a small piece of tamarind being ground with the chutney for some sourness.

- Garnishing with chopped coriander leaves gives a nice flavour to the chutney.

- You can add 1-2 dry red chillies, torn into halves, while tempering the chutney.

- Adding curd to the chutney is another way to make it thick and sour. Amma used to do this but we don't like the flavour that much so I think she stopped. (Thanks to some awesome readers for reminding me of this tip for coconut chutney in the comments).

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  1. This is prepared in a similar fashion in Karnataka as well. For a slight variation, you can substitute tamarind with lemon or even curds. Curds makes it a bit more thicker. You can try this as well.

  2. Love this chutney ever. Very small tip, Adding raw 3 garlic cloves and raw 3 small onions, will add more taste to it Nags...

  3. Nags ! being from TN Hing is most imp ingredients for this chutney ! u can even temper with Small onion :)

    i am a die hard fan of this chutney ! esp well go with Fried rice {weird combination of mine}

    Photos are kalakals

  4. hi, i am an irregular visitor to your blog, and have always found it interesting...
    My version adds curd to the chutney instead of water for the sourness. Only downside is that we can use it only for one day, the next day the taste changes.

  5. Simple but delicious chutney. You may even add coriander(say a small bunch) while grinding to make it yummier and adds a hint of green to the chutney :-)

  6. Wow! That chutney looks delicious! Beautifully clicked.

  7. Did you know that adding garlic gives a distinct yet subtle flavor to the chutney? You might wanna try. Just 4-5, without peeling.

  8. Thengai chutney is my most fav one and i love this even for chapathis too!!. U made it nice.

  9. wow superb...love making it this way

  10. Beautiful! I love that fact that you blog such simple everyday recipes. Of course they look super exotic here with these gorgeous photos.

  11. i exactly make chutney like this. what a coincidence. and even i call it hotel style coconut chutney. there is another variation of this chutney that i make and its called as super quick hotel style chutney ;-)

    apart from adding a lot of body, roasted chana dal adds its own flavor to the chutney which sets it apart from plain coconut chutney.

  12. Simple yet flavourful chutney..love it with idlis anytime!!

  13. Nice pictures Nags!
    One tip: Two pods of garlic can also be added if ginger is added. It adds more flavour..


  14. Delicious & yummy chutney,looks fabulous!

  15. Wonderful - absolutely wonderful!

  16. Hi there, I recently received a wet grinder as a gift and have FINALLY figured out how to use it properly to make dosa batter. But looking at your photos, I'm wondering if I'd be better off with a mixie (which, being a Canadian, I don't know what it is, never mind where to find one).

    Thoughts? Help?

    1. I am not the best person to answer this since I haven't lived in Canada and not sure what's available here. That said, I think Sumeet mixers are available in Canada so you can give that a shot.

  17. Hey nags.. I tried this chutney jus now.. It just tasted exactly the same as restaurant one.. Thanks nags .. u are an awesome cook !! :)

  18. Thank you for the tips.. It turned out yummy..!

  19. Me being keralite .. Have nt known that hing could be added.. Otherwise.. This is exactly the same way I ve seen ma mum preparing.. I ve seen her also add a small piece of ginger as well for a different taste which I liked n make it once in a while for a change..


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