Congee/Kanji is comfort dinner for most Keralites. Watery kanji served along with proteins in the form of legumes or beans is well suited for the hot and sweaty tropical climate. Like how butter is a must with bread, chammanthi is a must with kanji (rice gruel).
Chammanthis are similar to chutneys but thicker and mostly used with kanji or alongside
steamed rice. Here is an easy to make flavorful chammanthi that can be used with rice or
Coconut – 1 cup tightly packed
Garlic – 2 cloves
Shallots – 3-4
Dry red chilies – 2
Green chilies – 2
Tamarind – 1/2 lime size
Ginger – a small piece (1/2 inch)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Water – 1-2 tbsp
Salt as needed
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Grinding Time: 5 mins
Makes: 1-1/2 cups
Grate the coconut. Peel the garlic and shallot.
Pass a skewer through the chilies, garlic, and shallots and roast them directly on fire.
Do not char them. Just a little bit of burning is good enough.
Grind all the ingredients together in a mixer using small amounts of water. Ensure that
the consistency is tight and not watery.
Serve along with rice gruel or steamed rice.
Notes: You can grind the ingredients raw and make a chutney, but the smoky flavor when you roast the chilies, shallots, and garlic on fire lends the chutney a really unique flavor making it an interesting accompaniment with the bland kanji.
You may avoid garlic if you wish to.