Coconut Relish
this is the most popular relish of south india. although its flavor 
will vary from state to state, it consists essentially of freshly 
grated coconut and mustard seeds. the mustard seeds are sizzled in hot 
oil and folded into the coconut. some indians flavor the relish with 
ground roasted yellow split peas (bhona channa dal ka ataa); others 
with tomato. but the most refreshing and fragrant is the malayali 
version from kerala, which adds chopped fresh coriander. this herb also 
titnts the relish a very appealing pale green color. 
coconut relish generally accompanies southern delicacies. serve it with 
foamy white steamed rice and bean dumplings and with southern or 
southwestern vegetarian meals that are characteristically flavored with 
black mustard seeds. 
1 cup  packed fresh grated coconut
1/2 cup  plain yogurt
2 Tbsp  finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
2   green chilies (or 1/4 small green bell pepper plus 1/4 teaspoon dried
  ground red pepper)
1/2 tsp  kosher salt
2 Tbsp  hot water
4 Tbsp  usli ghee (see tips, below), or oil (preferably sesame)
1 tsp  black mustard seeds
put coconut, yogurt, coriander leaves, chilies, salt, and hot water 
into the container of an electric blender, and blend until finely 
pureed. put into a small serving bowl. 
heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat in a small frying pan. 
when it is very hot, carefully add mustard seeds. keep a pot lid or 
splatter screen handy, since the seeds may splutter and splatter. when 
the seeds stop spluttering and turn gray, immediately pour the ghee and 
seeds over the coconut puree. mix thoroughly, check for salt, and 
note: this relish may be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 
days. remove from refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. 
julie sahni shares her tips: 
. one coconut will contain more than enough meat for this recipe. see 
tips from gourmet on cracking and grating fresh coconut. 
. use full-fat yogurt for the most authentic results. 
. ubiquitous in indian cuisine, usli ghee is similar to french 
clarified brown butter and adds a distinct nutty flavor. to make it, 
start with a third more unsalted butter than you will need for the 
recipe. melt the butter over low heat, then increase the heat to medium 
low and simmer the butter, without stirring, until it stops crackling 
and the milk solids brown and drop to the bottom. skim off any foam 
from the top, and strain the ghee through a colander lined with 
cheesecloth. ghee will keep at room temperature, covered, for several 
makes 1 1/3 cup. 
(ID: 1545) Mirror: Wed, Aug 24, 2005

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