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)
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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)
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