Dinner at the Ranch

Red dal with cardamom-ginger quinoa and coconut-cocona chutney.

The red lentil dal is paired with an aromatic quinoa, with kefir, hot fresh green chiles and the coconut-cocona chutney.

Dal makes it’s appearance here frequently, an easy and satisfying preparation that lends itself to a wide range of ingredients. Today’s is red lentils with carrots, purple sweet potato, chayote and asparagus beans. The “rice” is quinoa liberally spiced with coco oil-sizzled spices (cumin, mustard, cinnamon stick, and of course, cardamom) and a handful of ginger julienne.

Dotting the i is a new rendition of a classic coconut chutney in grated fresh firm coconut, chile, spices and the tart cubes of the cocona.

Recipe: Coconut-cocona Chutney

Summary: Firm coconut and cocona is lightly browned in spiced coco oil


  1. Meat of 2 firm-mature coconuts
  2. 2 T. coco oil
  3. 1 t. cardamom seed
  4. 3 sliced aji dulce chiles
  5. 1/4 C. chopped fresh ginger
  6. 1 C. diced cocona
  7. 1 t. salt
  8. 1 T. sugar
  9. 1 C. chopped cilantro


  1. Scoop out the firm coconut meat, trim off all brown parts from the shell. Grate coarsely in a food processor.
  2. Prepare the cocona: slice off the stem end and peel the fruit with a vegetable peeler. Dice the fruit into 1/4″ pieces, ignoring the seeds.
  3. Heat coco oil, and when hot, add the chiles and cardamom. When the chiles brown a little, add the ginger, and heat it to a rapid sizzle.
  4. Add the grated coconut, and brown, taking care to keep the bottom of the pan scraped. When sufficiently browned, add the cocona, salt and sugar.
  5. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Mix in the cilantro and it’s ready.


Normally, this recipe would use tamarind; so you can use tamarind paste instead of cocona, (admittedly hard to find…) but it will be a lot less–like 1/4 cup.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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