Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Ballari Coconut (Ballari Kobbera)

Ballari Coconut (Ballari Kobbara)

For this week’s Indian kitchen, I’m showcasing a unique Indian ingredient, “Ballari Coconut”. It’s a dried whole coconut, and the unique thing about it is how it is dried. Under hot summer sun, some selected whole coconuts are dried with coconut water inside so that the coconut meat can absorb all the coconut water while drying. This process makes the dried coconut very sweet. A completely different taste when compared to ordinary dried coconut, where the drying process is done after removing the coconut water.When cut into half (above image) and grated or powdered, Ballari coconut almost taste like sweetened, sugar added coconut flakes.

In our area, Nandyala (India), it’s called ‘Ballari coconut’. Because of the special process involved in making, it’s priced little bit high than the ordinary dried coconut. Due to high cost, it’s used mainly during special occasions like for preparing sesame laddus and as part of traditional ‘sare’ (care package) to married daughters from mothers etc.,

Are you aware of this type of dried coconut? If so, what do you call it at your place? Any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks!

it’s available in Indian grocery stores here in US. I saw it at Subji Mandi in New Jersey and also at Pittsburgh Indian grocery shop. Look for whole dried coconut instead of halved shells.

For more weekend food/herb blogging, check out Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Coconut (Dry),Indian Ingredients (Sunday February 19, 2006 at 6:11 pm- permalink)
Comments (24)

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24 comments for Ballari Coconut (Ballari Kobbera) »

  1. Indira –

    Is this coconut sold whole or in halves (or both)?

    I have seen full dried coconuts – the kind in your picture, only unbroken – both here in the United States and in Mumbai. Not sure what it is called in Mumbai. I will ask around the next time I am there.

    Thanks for yet another lovely post.



    Comment by Veena — February 19, 2006 @ 7:41 pm

  2. Hi Indira,
    I know the coconut you’re talking about – we just call it kobbera (we call the fresh ones tenkai). This gives dishes a subtle, mildly sweet flavor. We use it mainly for sweets, but some of the savory dishes that I can think where kobbera is used are Vaangi Baath, Chutney podi and kodam billa (a kind of murukku). The whole ones are usually carved with beautiful designs for the ‘sare’ that you talk about.

    Comment by Faffer — February 19, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

  3. Hi Veena! Thanks for your comments. This coconut is sold as whole and uncut. I cut it to show the details and should also have put a picture of whole uncut one.
    I’m glad you liked the post.

    Comment by Indira — February 19, 2006 @ 8:21 pm

  4. Hi Faffer,
    yes, you got it. No special names for this type of dried coconut? Ordinary dried coconut – we also call it ‘kobbara’.
    But this particular variety is called ‘ballari kobbera’ in our area. I don’t know why, but this is the name we use for this kind of dried uncut ‘kobbera’. I need to do some more research, on how this is made and what people call it in different places.

    Comment by Indira — February 19, 2006 @ 8:23 pm

  5. Hi,
    I tumbled onto your sight and I like it a lot .I never really cooked before or paid any attention to what my mom or granny did,but now I do once in a while.Your recepies are a lot like what my granny/mom does.I do rem when I was growing up the coconut part or whole dried outside.They were mainly used to sweets and some powder (senaga pappu karam) and I think the coconut was called endu kobbari.Thats prety much all I remeber.Thanks for sharing all your knowledge ( I can’t but think open souce for cooking is great)

    Comment by Sushma — February 19, 2006 @ 9:30 pm

  6. We call it kuridi Kobbari kaya. We make coconut powder with to that goes very well in idlis, dosas and other south Indian tiffins. We call that kobbari karampodi.

    Comment by anonymous — February 19, 2006 @ 10:06 pm

  7. Hi ,
    This is called “Kobbari” in Kannada. Its an important part of many relegious rituals and even weddings in some sects of some communities.(The whole kobbari, i.e) .I assumed that this was so as fresh coconut was not available and so they had to manage with dried and preserved coconut, which was readily available. For my wedding, my MIL presented my parents with whole kobbari, which was beautifully carved to represent Shiva and Parvati.(I’ll get my mum to send me the pictures ,if I can.) Among a particular sect of Brahmins in Bangalore,this is a regular feature for all weddings, a tradtional exchange gift between inlaws. Of late , the kobbari is beautifully decorated in different ways. All of us do not follow this, as my parents home town has an abundance of fresh coconuts which is why (I think) we do not place that much importance on the dried and preserved version. (Somehow I feel, the agricultural produce of a region influences the rituals and customs…) .

    During Sankranthi , Kannadigas in B’lore distribute “Ellu-bella” (which is basically sesame and jaggery with small bits of kobbari and some sugar candy).

    Grated kobbari is used as an ingredient in Chutney powder , Puliogare ,”Kodbale” etc.

    Comment by S — February 19, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

  8. Kobbari in Kannada, Sooku Kopru in Gujarati. Used also as flavouring/texturing agent in certain Payasams. A favourite sweet is “Kobbari Obbattu” which is similar to maharashtrian gul-poli, and is pooran poli, or regular obbattu with a filling made of grated kobbari and jaggery with spices. Lasts longer and has a crisper shell than regular obbattu.
    I wonder if the name “Ballari kobbari” has something to do with the town of Ballari (or Bellary) in Karnataka.

    Comment by AA — February 20, 2006 @ 1:07 am

  9. Hi Indira,

    In Malvani (from the West Coast of Maharashtra) food this is used a lot…it is preferred to fresh coconut at times. It is called Sukka (dry) Khobra (coconut).


    Comment by Sonali — February 20, 2006 @ 1:18 am

  10. hi indira,
    in kerala, it is called ‘kopra’ not far from kobbari in kannada. we don’t use it for cooking,except for some ‘chammanthi’ (pacchadi). but, this is used to produce coconut oil, the staple of kerala. almsot half the coconut production in kerala is dried, and pressed in mills for making coconut oil. now people mostly buy their coconut oil, but there are still families who dry their coconuts and send to the local mill to get pressed. that coconut oil has more flavour and richness, compared to the commercially packed oil.

    i remember my parents used to sun-dry our humble crop of coconuts on our terrace and get them pressed in the local mill. but we dont do it now because of the labour involved. and also, in kerala we dry the halved coconuts, not the round ones. the water is not retained.

    its very interesting to collect the information from all over india. thank you very much.

    Comment by renu — February 20, 2006 @ 2:13 am

  11. Very interesting facts. I’ve never stumbled upon this kind of coconut in my country, Malaysia. Neither have I seen it in the Indian shops here in Switzerland.

    Comment by Puspha — February 20, 2006 @ 3:42 am

  12. hai indira how r u? thanks for introducing one main ingredient in indian cooking. in A.P some regions called it as “ENDU KOBBARI”. i think evrybody knows abt “Konaseema” a fertail land in A.P . at this regions everybody calls this as “ENDU KOBBARI”. this type if kobbari made in a famous place called”Ambajipeta”. from this they make coconut oil also. when we r travelling around this area we can all the coconut halfs dried in road side. while u r intering to this place u can smell the coconut flaour. it is expensive also.especially making “chakkera pongali”, “Ravva laddu” , as u told that in sare, . it tastes wonderful. let me know the other recipes make with this.

    Comment by venny — February 20, 2006 @ 4:40 am

  13. Hi Indira,
    In France, this coconut hasn’t got any name, because we can’t find it. What a pity ! Thank you for the information. Cheers !

    Comment by Virginie — February 20, 2006 @ 7:54 am

  14. What a great conversation you started, Indira! I have a question, too, about the ‘coconut powder’ in my pantry, seems to be unsweetened and very fine coconut although from what you’ve said, all coconut is dried in a way to be sweetened, even if naturally from its own milk? It comes from Raja Foods and has no ingredient list or nutrition information either! And it was inexpensive, maybe a couple of dollars for a pound. I’d love to know how to use it other than as a substitute for sweetened coconut.

    Comment by Alanna — February 20, 2006 @ 8:37 am

  15. hi Indira,

    In tamilnadu it is called “Kopparai”.sometimes people call it kopparai thengai just to differenciate it from normal thengai (coconut).Thengai means coconut.Yes it is used special occasions for preparing sweets like somasi(the pooranam inside will contain, channa dal, sugar or jaggery and grated kopparai)and some others too which fails my memory now.
    keep up your good work…

    Comment by swarna — February 20, 2006 @ 9:38 am

  16. Mmmh, sounds and looks delicious, but I will never find it in Italy, I’m afraid…

    Comment by Sara — February 20, 2006 @ 9:54 am

  17. Hi Indira:
    This type of coconut is called as “KOPARRAI THENGAI” in Tamilnadu. I remember in my paternal granparents place, they use it to prepare coconut oil (BTW they prepare gingely also at home) I can able to think of the strong tangy aroma of the coconut oil, great aroma. Also we use this kind of coconut oil for applying hair, as far as cooking is concerned we used it for seasoning for Avial, sometimes for deep frying chicken, muruku (very rarely though). Muruku prepared with this oil, tastes really great.


    Comment by Karthi Kannan — February 20, 2006 @ 10:38 am

  18. Thank you all so much for responding and commenting. I really appreciate it!

    Now I know what it’s called in Gujarati (Sooku Kopru) Tamil (Koparrai Thengai//Kopparai), Kannada (Kobbari), Malayaalam (Kopra) and Malvani (Sukka Khobra).and also the cultural significance and few more recipes to try. Thank you all.

    Comment by Indira — February 20, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  19. Indira, thats “Kobbari” in Kannada…

    Indira replies..
    thanks S. I’ve just corrected it.

    Comment by Anon — February 20, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

  20. Hi, love your site and comments! also heard the term “kobbara” before – as they call coconut chutney “kobbara chutney” – my mom in law makes it. I’m South African and working in Cleveland, USA and I love Indian recipes. Talking about coconut – I tasted a coconut candy in Toronto this weekend (was there to visit some friends). It was from Hawaii, and it was dried pieces of coconut but sweetened and hard and crunchy, it was lovely!

    Comment by Aisha — February 21, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

  21. hi, Indira, I have become a big fan of your recipes, i have tried many of them and all have come out well, thanks a lot.

    ‘kobbari/kobri/khobri’ in kannada, reminds me of my inlaws and grandparent’s places where a room is dedicated for coconuts. They are left on the tree until they turn brown then brought down and kept in store. When ever they need a dry or fresh coconut, they test it and pick up appropriate one. The outer part of them is called ‘motte’ which is used to heat water in a ‘hande’, saves lot of electricity. Even the hard shell, the dried leaves are all used to heat water.

    Beautifully carved during weddings, used in temples and festivals, so many uses in one tree and nothing goes wasted.

    Comment by kavya — February 24, 2006 @ 8:28 am

  22. Indira I am not sure if this type of whole dried coconut is priced higher or tastes better. In Marathi we say Naral/ coconut is “Gota” which literally means bald. Ain’t that funny. Sometimes if the coconut is overipe and dried whole it gives bad taste. Yes but I have seen such whole dried coconut here in blr. Also I think it gets the name ballari kobbara from the Bellary district in karnataka.

    Indira replies:
    Because of the special drying process, this type of whole dried coconut tastes much better than regular one.
    See the coconut photo, this coconut was part of the “sare” that my mother packed for me during India visit. It really tastes superb! You have to beleive me on this. and if you get a chance, try and taste ballari kobbara at Blr.
    About coconuts gone bad, there are always some bad apples in every bunch.

    Comment by Anjali — September 4, 2007 @ 4:02 am

  23. Hi,

    I am from the place Ballari in kannada. Infact this concept of drying coconut evolved in our district as the temperature is high. Hence in whole of andhra pradesh ( Rayalaseema ) this coconut is called as Ballari Kobbera only. But in kannada we call it as “Vana Kobbari” only.

    Comment by sreepad kanugovi — March 20, 2009 @ 3:38 am

  24. Where in Bangalore are there mills to extract coconut oil from dried coconuts? Thanks for the interesting post and all the related comments. Open source cooking and info is great.

    Comment by Anna — March 21, 2013 @ 1:18 am

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