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

Kobbari Kaaram

Coconut sweetness
Curry leaves aroma
Chillies divine spiciness
Chana dal and Urad dal nutty crunchiness

That is kobbari kaaram. The traditional, famous spice powder from Andhra Pradesh, India. The secret to success of this spicy powder lies in slow-roasting of ingredients to seductive gold color. As you can see, there is a lot going on in this deceptively simple spicy powder.

Some recipes make us feel defeated while also stirring in the feelings of joy. Kobbari Kaaram is one such recipe for me. It has too much amma (mother) association and attached memories to it. While standing in front of the stove, waiting for the ingredients to reach that perfect gold color, the deep longing for gentle landscape of my childhood days was too much to feel. But once I finished the preparation and started to dip the warm gheelious rice-ravva upma rounds in kobbari kaaram, I rolled back to my routine content self and began to make happy cooking plans.

Oven-Dried Coconut, Toasted Curry Leaves, Roasted Dried Chillies, Chana dal and Urad dal

2 cups – thinly sliced dried coconut pieces
Quarter cup each – chana dal and urad dal
20 fresh curry leaves
15 dried red chillies – Indian variety
1 teaspoon – sea salt

Break a fresh coconut. Remove the coconut from shell. Thinly slice and spread the pieces on a baking pan and bake/ovendry to pale brown color at 200 F. Or simply sun-dry the coconut pieces to golden brown, like we used to do at Nandyala.
Place an iron skillet on stove-top, on medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, reduce the heat to low and one after another, add and roast chana dal, next urad dal and finally red chillies to pale brown color. Mix frequently and take care not to black the ingredients. Remove each one to a plate. In the end, coat the skillet with a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add and toast curry leaves to gold color. Remove to a plate.

Let the ingredients come down to room temperature. Both texture-wise and taste-wise, this is important. Go sit down and wait.

When they are cool enough to touch, take the coconut pieces, roasted ingredients in a Sumeet style mixie jar. Add salt and grind to fine powder. Store the kobbari kaaram in a clean glass jar. Kobbari kaaram tastes great with all types of breakfast items like upma, pongal, dosa, idly and also on stir-fried vegetables like bell peppers, potatoes, brinjals, ridge gourd and okra etc. It’s a good thing to have in the kitchen.

Kitchen Notes:
I prefer either Ballari coconut or fresh coconut for this recipe because of their superior taste.
(From Telugu to English : Kobbari=coconut, Kaaram=Chilli)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Coconut (Dry),Dried Red Chillies,The Essentials (Monday August 13, 2007 at 5:57 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

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22 comments for Kobbari Kaaram »

  1. I feel you on this, Indira…..there are times when you make something and the aromas invoke a lot of nostalgia…..

    Did i hear upma, ghee and this kaaram…..divine!!

    Comment by musical — August 13, 2007 @ 6:27 pm

  2. I like to have this with rice with a dollop of ghee. Roasted coconut is unbeatable.

    Comment by Suganya — August 13, 2007 @ 8:09 pm

  3. Nice chutney..I can almost get the aroma from that 1st picture..Good to see you back Indira! Happy Independance day to you and Vijay.

    Comment by Madhuli — August 14, 2007 @ 12:43 am

  4. Beautiful pic!We too use slow roasted coconut as a base for gravy in a lot of curries. I have never made it in bulk & stored though. Must try this, saves a lot of time!

    Comment by TBC — August 14, 2007 @ 9:03 am

  5. I like coconut pachadi that we make in andhra. Love to make it for a variation.

    Comment by Hima — August 14, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  6. this is such a treat indira, top it off with some ghee and mix it with rice, I wouldnt want to eat anything else!

    Comment by dee — August 14, 2007 @ 10:08 am

  7. Superb Indira, we make kobbari pachchadi for idli and dosa but this is great as we can use it multipurpose. I made my mind already to make it this weekend. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Comment by Sudha — August 14, 2007 @ 10:09 am

  8. Hi Indira,

    I visit your blog almost daily, although this is my first time commenting. More than a year ago I happen to see your post on a blackeye beans recipe that you wrote probably after a visit to India. I have lived here in US for almost 20 years now and feel the same longing to return home (I am from a neighboring country). So now after a visit home, still feeling very much homesick, I visited your blog. It is a source of comfort for me. (I have also tried many of your great recipes). Thanks.

    Comment by Anonymous — August 14, 2007 @ 11:43 am

  9. For me, food and aromas are always associated with memories…

    I love the photo of the coconut. It’s simply beautiful. Great idea for the presentation, too.

    Comment by Maninas: Food Matters — August 14, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  10. Musical: Upma, ghee and kaaram really is a divine combination.:)

    Suganya: That goes without saying. right? Congratulations on your photography award!

    Thanks Madhuli! Swatantra din Subhakamina to you and family!

    TBC: It really is a great thing to have in the pantry.

    Hima: Give it a try.

    Dee: I am totally with you on rice, ghee thing.:)

    Sudha: This is a great multipurpose type of podi. If you try, let me know how you like it. THanks.

    Hello Anonymous: It’s impossible to escape that lost, homesick feeling. I go through those feelings after every visit, but time has a way of easing the mind.
    Please take care!

    Thanks Maninas.

    Comment by Indira — August 14, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  11. Hey Indira, this morning I was asking my amma to make me “thengai podi” and here you have posted the recipe! mmm…My telepathy works it seems 😉 Thanks a lot!

    Comment by Nirmala — August 15, 2007 @ 2:57 am

  12. I love this kobbari karam so much, I was trying different recipes for this and all were flop, but yours looks delicious have to try and will let u know..

    Comment by padma — August 17, 2007 @ 5:50 am

  13. I prepared this powder with ballari coconut following your recipe. It came out awesome. Your chard dal and this kobbari kaaram with rice and yogurt was our meal today.
    You simply rock, Indira! Thank you!

    Comment by Rama — August 17, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

  14. Indira,

    Made this yesterday, tastes awesome! Thanks for the recipe. The picture is awesome.

    Comment by Prajakta — August 18, 2007 @ 5:21 am

  15. […] Kobbari Kaaram (adapted from Indira’s Mahanandi) […]

    Pingback by Little heaps of dynamite…………and an ode to a friend « Escapades — August 21, 2007 @ 3:36 am

  16. Indira,
    I get dried sliced coconuts(in Tamil we use the work “Kopparai thengai”) in my grocery. Can I use that instead of making oven-dried coconuts for this recipe?
    Thanks for taking the time to read and reply to my query,

    Hi Akhila,
    They are perfectly fine but only thing is check for the quality, both the sweetness level and fragrance. Old coconut pieces sometimes do not taste that good. This recipe taste is entirely based on coconut, so always go with quality coconut.
    Hope this helps.
    – Indira

    Comment by Akhila — August 22, 2007 @ 3:08 pm

  17. […] September 3rd, 2007 at 1:12 pm (Poriyal/Kootu/Varuval/Thuvayal, Tamilnadu Cuisine) At home okra or vendaikai is for sambhar or a simple poriyal. Else it will go into a puli kuzhambu (a tamarind based gravy). When we were kids we used to make a big fuss to eat these vendaikai (inspite of amma making us believe that eating okra will increase our arithmetic skills – till now don’t know how ). So one fine day she invented this okra fry which made us empty the vessel in few minutes. Yes! we used to have it by 11 am in the morning straight from the tava When our dear Indira posted the “kobbari kaaram” recipe I was very tempted to try that with okra and here comes the recipe. […]

    Pingback by Vendakkai (okra) stuffed with Indira’s kobbari kaaram « Amma’s special… — September 3, 2007 @ 12:14 am

  18. Hey Indira,

    Your recipe reminded of my mom’s kobbari kharam..:D.. and I am so thrilled to see it after such a long time…
    My mom used to use this as curry powder for almost all recipes.. and they used to taste so yummmmmmm… thanks for sharing Indira…:)

    Comment by Siri — September 11, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

  19. Do we need to roast Kobbari as well?

    Indira replies:
    If it is fresh coconut, then yes.

    Comment by Sailaja — October 18, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

  20. Hi Indira,

    excellent recipe. Have a question. Can I use frozen coconut which we get in the Indian store here? Do I have to roast the coconut as well?

    Hi Praveena,
    You have to roast the fresh coconut, otherwise the podi won’t stay fresh for more than one or two days. Indian stores started selling dried pieces of coconut, you could use them for this recipe.

    Comment by Praveena — April 15, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  21. Hi Indira,

    Thanks for your immediate reply. Will try it out

    Comment by Praveena — April 15, 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  22. Dear Indira,

    I made this kobbari karam podi today. Ofcourse with 5 chillies instead of 15. 🙂 I used srilankan variety which is hotter than Indian ones.. It was at the back of my mind for ages and it finally got made today! And I’m so glad I tried it! I had had a taste of this thengai podi when I was a little kid… no matter which recipe I tried, to recreate it, it just wasn’t right.. Your recipe was just perfect and it was exactly what I was looking for.

    Thanks very much! This recipe is a keeper in my kitchen! 🙂

    Comment by Kay — December 13, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

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