I tend to eat lamb year-round, but for many, springtime is prime time for lamb roasts and chops. And I must admit, I’m not sure why mint jelly is the traditional accompaniment. I mean, it’s fine, but I just don’t think it’s quite as tasty or complex in flavor as my Coconut-Mint Chutney.
This bright, fresh-tasting sauce is very similar to one I learned while working with Chef Floyd Cardoz of Tabla and Bombay Kitchen. It’s terrific with curries, Indian-spiced meats and fish or simple, straight-up sautéed lamb chops.
If you’re familiar with the Argentinian chimichurri sauce, you’ll notice some similarity here. The flavors are similarly fresh and zippy, but because it’s coconut-based, this chutney tends to be smoother and creamier.
A couple of notes on this recipe… I use the term “small bunch of mint” here. See the photo above for an illustration of what I mean by that. If jaggery, a traditional Indian cane sugar, was more widely available, I’d recommend you sweeten this chutney with that, but it’s not, so maple syrup or brown sugar make good substitutions.
Coconut-Mint Chutney (Makes about 1.5 cups)
1 small bunch of mint
1 small bunch of cilantro
Soft flesh of 1 young coconut (or 1/2 cup shredded coconut)
1/2 small onion, cut in half
1/2 long green chili or jalapeno
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup water (or coconut water)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup (optional)
- Pick the leaves from the stems of the mint and cilantro. Use the stems for stock or discard.
- Place the leaves, coconut flesh, onion pieces, chili, lime juice, cumin and water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
- Sample and season to taste with salt and sugar or maple syrup, if desired. Serve immediately, or store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to a week.
Although you can store this chutney in the fridge for a few days, it’s always best when fresh. If you have extra, you can also freeze it and toss it into the pot next time you make a coconut-based soup or curry.