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 Cardoz. 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)
1. Pick the leaves from the stems of the mint and cilantro. Use the stems for stock or discard.
2. Place the leaves, coconut flesh, onion pieces, chili, lime juice, cumin and water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
3. 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.