This Narkel Ghonto recipe is a unique Bengali vegetarian or ‘niramish‘ dish where grated coconut has been stirfried with a handful of Indian spices. It strikes a unique balance between the sweetness of the freshly grated coconut and a subtle heat from green chilli.
Here, ‘Narkel‘ means coconut and a ‘ghonto‘ is a kind of dish which uses spices like cumin seeds, ginger and green chilli, and is most often a dry side dish featuring vegetable or a combination of vegetables and other non-vegetarian items.
Served with boiled rice, this narkel ghonto recipe is an ideal side dish for a light meal. It is vegan, gluten-free and paleo-friendly as well.
There are hundreds of Bengali vegetarian recipes under the category of ‘ghonto‘. In fact, even I have a couple of them on my blog. You can check out the winter special, Palong Shaker Ghonto (Spinach & Radish or Daikon based recipe) here.
But this Narkel Ghonto is unique in every sense. And, it is something which I first heard and tasted at one of my aunt’s place. When she served it, we were totally surprised to see a dish made entirely with the coconuts. Generally, it is only added as a topping or to flavour the curries.
I am delighted at its simplicity yet how it gives an amazing side-dish to begin a meal. Scrapped coconut, tempered and cooked with a handful of ingredients gives you a delicious dish.
How to make Narkel Ghonto – Ingredients list
- Coconut – shredded or grated
- Ghee or Clarified Butter – alternate would be olive oil or sunflower oil
- Hing or Asafoetida
- Cumin Seeds & Cumin seeds powder
There are few things about this Narkel Ghonto that I would like to point out:
- This is a dish made entirely of coconuts. So, if you have trouble with the coconut flavour, then this ain’t for you
- I would strongly suggest you to use a coconut scraper to scrape out fine threads of the coconut. This would make it melt-in-mouth and truly delicious
- If you do not have a coconut scraper, then you can use a food processor to grind the coconut pieces into finer texture.
- If you are like me and do not mind coarser texture, then you can leave the coconut a bit coarse. It would increase the cooking time slightly and would also give a crunch to the dish
- My aunt suggested adding a pinch of turmeric powder to this dish, but I avoided. I wanted to keep it white
- Also, in the end she suggested adding a teaspoon of four or cornflour slurry to the dish. This would absorb the liquid and make it thicker, but I didn’t find it necessary. In case you feel there’s extra liquid in the end, you can use flour or cornflour to manage that
Watch the step-by-step recipe demonstration of Narkel Ghonto here in this video:
Here, I have tried to demonstrate how to break open a coconut at home and then grind the coconut flesh for this dish.
This Narkel Ghonto recipe is a unique Bengali vegetarian or 'niramish' dish where grated coconut has been stirfried with a handful of Indian spices. It strikes a unique balance between the sweetness of the freshly grated coconut and a subtle heat from a green chilli.
- 1/2 Coconut – grated or shredded
- A pinch of Hing or Asafoetida
- 2 tsp Ghee Use EVOO for vegan alternate
- 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 Tejpata or Bay Leaf
- 1 Green Chilli
- 1 tbsp Grated Ginger
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- Salt to Taste
- 1 tsp Sugar
Scrape the coconut and keep it aside.
If you do not have a coconut scraper then chop the coconut into smaller pieces and grind it into a smooth mix.
Heat a teaspoon of ghee (or EVOO) in a pan and temper it with hing, bay leaf, green chili and cumin seeds.
As they splutter, add the grated coconut in the pan and stir for next couple of minutes on medium flame.
Meanwhile, mix the grated ginger and cumin seeds powder with a little water to make a slurry. Keep it aside.
Keep frying the coconut till it becomes aromatic. But do not let them brown up.
Then add around 1/4 cup of water, salt, sugar and the ginger mix. Mix everything together. Cover the pan with the lid and allow it to simmer till the coconut is cooked thoroughly.
Once the water has reduced and the coconut has become soft, add rest of the ghee and garam masala powder.
Turn off the heat and serve.