Kobbari Chutney Pudi, or Dry Coconut Chutney Powder, is something I’ve only recently (6-7 years) discovered through an ex-partner. From time to time, his family would send these lovely little care packages brimming with sweet and spicy treats from home (I’m not sure why I never told him this, but it’s one of my fondest memories of him smiling like a 5-year-old with a pocket full of mango bites and Pokémon cards). It was the first time I smelled such an interesting mix of sweet, spicy, and buttery aromas. It had me hooked on learning to cook Indian food after years of only eating the typical dishes you’d find in American “Indian” restaurants in the early 2000s. I say “Indian” like this because a lot of the restaurants American’s call “Indian” are Pakistani and/or Sri Lankan (with the same flavor profiles and slight differences in cooking methods and ingredients).
One of my favorite treats his mom would send was a spicy coconut powder, otherwise known as “Kobbari Chutney Pudi” (or “नारियल की चटनी पाउडर”) that, when mixed with warm rice, was one of the most magical things I’d had in my mouth in a VERY long time (I took a break from cooking before transitioning. I call that period the dark ages).
After we split a while back I decided it was high time to learn to create this amazingly lovely little powerhouse of flavor so I could enjoy is whenever the mood hits. Plus share it with the world! 🙂
- 3/4 cup grated dry coconut
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 3-4 dry Kashmiri red chillis, seeds removed (powdered chilis also work)
- 2 tablespoons chana dal (Bengal Gram)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons urad dal (Black Gram)
- 2 Stalks fresh curry leaves (3 Stalks if using frozen)
- 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon jaggery, optional (dark brown sugar, demerara or muscovado would also work)
- Using a dry sauté pan, place your chana dal and urad dal in the pan and allow to roast for 3-5 minutes on high. Every minute or so, shake your sauté pan so the dal browns without burning. Place browned dal in a bowl once it's browned.
- Place the pan back on the heat, and add your grated coconut in an even layer. Allow to roast until a rich golden brown. Shake the pan every couple of moments (regularly?) to allow browning without burning. Set aside in the same bowl as your dal.
- Place the pan back on the heat and repeat the same process with the remaining ingredients, minus the jaggery (if you plan to add it). While you shake the pan, make sure to keep an eye on the garlic so it doesn't burn. No one likes burnt garlic! Once browned, place the remaining ingredients into the same bowl as the others, and allow to cool completely.
- Once the ingredients are completely cool, add them to a blender jar, spice grinder, mortar and pestle, etc. and grind the entire mixture into a powder. If you plan to use a mortar and pestle, I would advise grinding the harder ingredients first (like the dal) and then move onto the curry leaves and chilies. Their skins can sometimes take a little more elbow grease then the garlic, cumin seeds, etc.
- Once ground, you can store your coconut powder on the counter for about 2 weeks in a sealed, airtight container or up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.
Some blenders, or grinders, might need a little extra time to fully grind to a powder. This can cause heat to build up at the point where the blades meet the container. This may cause the coconut to release its oil. If you're unsure about whether this might be a problem with the tools you have, you might try grinding the coconut separately so that it retains its flavors a bit longer.