Generally speaking everyday Indian food is of the rustic sort, nothing fancy, and is made up of simple ingredients that are locally available, and are thrown together in various combinations with fabulous results. Chutneys fall in this category, Indians love their piquant, hot, sweet, tangy, and spicy chutneys. In villages everyday meals are often incomplete without some sort of chutney as an accompaniment to the daily fare. Take for example in Kerala, southern India, wet chutneys called chammanthi is a popular concept, and considering how easily these are available, coconut is the chief ingredient of these chutneys. Dried coconut is toasted over an open fire and ground coarsely with ginger, curry leaves, tamarind, and red chillies, seasoned with sea salt and coconut oil, this simple chammanthi is at the heart of a simple village meal.
In Maharasthra, western India, dry chutneys are more popular and again here peanuts/groundnuts being abundant, a garlic and peanut chutney is quite popular. In Andhra, chutney podi (powder) is made with easily available lentils and pulses, again Tamil Nad is popular for its molaha podi (roughly translated as gunpowder), eaten with soft, steamy idli.
This dry chutney is similar to the simple garlic and peanut chutney Maharashtrians make. But for the record you must know, that I have improvised just a tiny bit. The chillies I have used are Kashmiri chillies, gives a fantastic, smoky taste and is not too hot at all. Do try this chutney, tastes great mixed with plain rice, sprinkled over bread or roti, with a dollop if ghee. You can’t get more authentically desi than this!
Ingredients for the Chutney
1 cup shredded coconut
1. In a skillet, over medium low heat, toast the kashmiri red chillies. The chillies need to be toasted just short of it smoking, at this point add the chopped garlic and shredded coconut into the same skillet. Keep stirring and toast until the coconut turn golden brown. Take off fire and let cool, enough to handle.