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

Naaga Keshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu

NaagaKeshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu
Clockwise from left: Naaga Keshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu
Special Spices from India ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Herbs and Spices,Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen (Sunday October 14, 2007 at 1:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (29)

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29 comments for Naaga Keshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu »

  1. Indira,
    Being a Maharashtrian, I find it interesting that Andhra has named a spice
    “Marathi Moggu”.(I knew we were spicy people but did not know that we had a spice named after us 🙂 )
    Where did this name come from? And how and in which Andhra recipe do you use this spice?
    I will try to find the Marathi name for this.

    Comment by Anjali — October 14, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

  2. Thanks Indira for posting the pics…Guess you have made it easy for me to identify these wonderful spices.


    Comment by Priti — October 14, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

  3. Indira,

    After seeing this photo, I went back to my comment on Oct 8. to find my error. I also immediately opened my jar of whole cloves, inhaled the sweet spicy fragrance, popped one into my mouth and examined them more closely. The cloves have a bud that obviously protrudes and sits on the calyx.

    From your beautiful photo, naaga keshar, cloves and maranthi moggu are similar, but also have clear differences. I look forward to learning more about naaga keshar and maranthi moggu, how their flavors differ, and in what types of food each are used.

    Comment by Nora — October 14, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  4. Even in Kannada, there is a spice called “Marathi Moggu”. However, I don’t use it.

    Comment by Kumudha — October 14, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

  5. Indira, I have not used marati moggu, would love to hear its uses.

    Comment by sreelu — October 15, 2007 @ 12:28 am

  6. Hey Indira, Iam here after a long time. Was busy visiting places with my parents in-laws. Good to learn about the spices. I havent used Naaga Keshar or Marathi Moggu! Need to catch up on many posts of yours! Regards n Cheers / Nina

    Comment by Nina — October 14, 2007 @ 11:47 pm

  7. I also recently came to know about these ancient and special spices and I am in the process of learning full details about the history, recipe uses etc. I will update you through my posts, when I get all the information needed. Thanks for your interest.

    Comment by Indira — October 15, 2007 @ 12:06 am

  8. I have always used cloves but Naag Keshar and Marathi Mogu is nex to me.
    I don’t think i will find them here in Belgium. But am going to buy them frm Indian on my next trip
    THanks for the post as i learned something new today

    Comment by Happy Cook — October 15, 2007 @ 5:08 am

  9. Indira,

    Thanks for posting these photos. You’ve cleared up lots of doubts. I wonder if Penzey’s or Kalystan’s has them.

    Comment by padmaja — October 15, 2007 @ 8:46 am

  10. Hi,

    Do you know other names for marathi moggu? I am trying buy it in US but don’t know what to ask for :).

    Comment by Neetu — October 17, 2007 @ 1:16 am

  11. Hi,

    I know my mil used Marathi mogu for Bise bale bath and sometimes in channa masala, it definitely adds a different flavour

    Comment by Sapna — October 22, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

  12. Hey Indira, We were introduced to these spices when we first tasted Pedatha’s Vaangi Baath. We have not found the English names after much search. They are truly flavoursome and lend an exotic and distinct taste to the dishes. Clear pictures as always :).

    Comment by Pritya — October 29, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

  13. Marthi Moggu is kannada name. In other languages:

    Capparis spinosa L. (syn: Capparis aphylla, Roth) Capparideae
    Tamil: Kariyal
    English: Caper
    Sanskrit: Karira
    Hindi: Kachra, Kabra, Karer
    Punjabi: Karia
    Telugu: Enugadanta, Mumudatu
    Persian: Kuraka, kebir

    Comment by parshva — November 12, 2007 @ 6:40 am

  14. hi,
    from a programme on agriculture telecast in the ‘podhigai’ TV I came to know that maratti moggu is the immature pod of silk cotton tree that drops down.

    Comment by T.R.DAMODARAN — November 25, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  15. hi, i’ve been looking for an authentic recipe for vaangi baath. my husband is willing to eat brinjals but only if they are covertly added into curries! i looked on your website but couldnt see one so thought i’d ask just in case i have missed it. thanks


    Comment by satya krishnan — January 14, 2008 @ 5:10 am

  16. Please can you tell me where I can buy marathi moggu? Can I buy them in England, if so where?


    Comment by Jennifer Scott — January 22, 2008 @ 4:53 am

  17. marathi moggu ls botanically fruit bud of red silk cotton tree (Ceiba bombaxYba)

    Comment by G.Ganapathi Bhat — December 16, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  18. hi indira,ur recipes are good and i watch more . what is nagakeshar.i didn;t use it upto now. is it available in andhra? i didn;t hear about it in andhra(though i am from andhra).pls tell me more about it ,in which telugu recipes it is used.

    i know marati mogga will be used in biryani recipes.

    Comment by neeraja — January 20, 2010 @ 2:15 am

  19. Do you have any more information on marathi moggu? There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding this spice. I have been researching it all morning and have found many names for it in various languages (Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, on and on) but no one can agree on what plant it comes from. Some claim it is type of caper bud, others claim it is type of dried young okra, some think it is a cubeb pepper, and others claim it is a pod from the cotton tree. It certainly does not look like a cubeb pepper to me.

    Comment by John Damascus — August 12, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  20. I got Marati Moggu and Nagkesar home delivered from The Big Indian Store at

    Having stayed in Karnataka in the childhood, I just can’t forget the awesome taste of Bise billi bhat and Vanga Bhat that I used to eat at my Kanadda friend’s home.

    My friend gave me the recipe which had Marati Moggu and Nagkesar as an important ingredient. Being in the US, I found it really difficult to find these spices. But thanks to The Big Indian Store, now i don’t need to wander around looking for these spices.

    You can get them home delivered worldwide from them at

    Its flavour is really lovely. My bisebille bhat turned awesome with these spices. May be you would like to try their spices. They provide their spices worldwide. I am realy in love with their Marati Moggu ad Nagkesar.

    Comment by gitika — September 3, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  21. hey me too tried the marati moggu from the big indian store that i got from ur link

    thanku so much.. finally i have got the exact marati moggu from somewhere now!

    Comment by Shanthi — September 15, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  22. maratti moghu is called Kapok buds in English.
    It is the dried fruit of caper tree.

    Comment by Nanaiah — January 25, 2011 @ 4:33 am

  23. hi,
    my mother and other people around me tell that it is a type of spice like cloves.


    Comment by r. sivani — July 14, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  24. Hi guys

    Think this is called dagadphool in Marathi.

    Comment by Medha Kaimal — March 5, 2013 @ 2:35 am

  25. […] A few months ago I was home visiting my parents and we had a lunch with a few other Maharashtrians. The conversation turned towards food, and in particular ingredients that are important for making authentic garam masala. Garam masalas vary widely by region in India, and the two ingredients in question were dagadful and nag kesar. I had never really heard of these spices so I did a bit of research to learn more. […]

    Pingback by Dagadful and nag kesar | An Ergodic Walk — April 22, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  26. This is the best kept secret of Andhra Kodi Pulao, the variant of chicken biryani. Hyderabadi biryani doesn’t use this. You get stronger peppery flavor without the heat. Try this also in variety of rice baths made by kannadigas.

    Comment by Sarvesh — December 31, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

  27. I have done some research ( like many of you – ) and I would like to contribute some authemtic information that you may be able to verify, independently ……

    1. Marathi Moggu or marethi or marati Moggu IS NOT A CAPER. Repest NOT.

    Capers grown in the middle East and the Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy etc. are a totally different plant variety like Capparis spinosa.
    Look in Wikipedia, to read all about it.

    Marathi Moggu comes from the fact that though this spice in used in Karnataka and Andhra and Kerala – it MAY have been brought by the travellers from Maharashtra. It is also not a dried Okra pod – though it seems to look like one, ;-D) LOL. Marathi moggu is the dried bud of the red out bud of the Bombax ceiba – the red silk-cotton tree. I’m sorry I cannot link it here, and save you the trouble – but it well written up in Wikipedia.

    2. Nagakesar is the buds of the tree Mesua ferrea. See Wikipedia. Its flowers are used in perfumes and essence. and it is Sri Lanka’s national tree. The seeds look something like cloves, but they have a unique flavor.

    3. Kebab chini, or Kankol or cubeb also called Java Pepper is also written up in Wikipedia. It is like a peppercorn, with a small ‘tail’, somewhat milder than a pappercorn. Used in kasai ( tisane) for sore throats etc. Look in Wikipedia, under ‘cubeb’.

    Good luck, and bon appetit. Cheers.

    Comment by Gary Kulkarni — October 9, 2015 @ 7:23 pm

  28. We r supplie Spices & herbs
    From West Bengal
    Marathi maggu,

    Comment by mss-enterprise — May 14, 2016 @ 9:59 am

  29. Marathi Moggu comes from the while silk cotton tree, Ceiba pentandra (not its cousin Bombax ceiba). The originally recognized and most agreed upon ayurvedic source for Nagakesar (or Nag Kesar) is indeed from Sri Lanka’s national tree, Mesua ferrea. But the fruit (or seed) does not look like the picture above. The picture above looks more like cinnamon buds. To the contrary, Mesua ferrea Nag Kesar gives a woody flavor, and not cinnamon. By the way, Mesua ferrea should not be consumed by pregnant women, since this herb has abortifacient properties.

    Comment by Al from USA — November 17, 2016 @ 10:33 pm

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