Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Narkel Naru / Bengali Coconut Laddu

Sweet and savoury delicacies used to be made in our home twice a year. Once it was during Janmashtami and another time it was during Poush Sankranti...the last day of the month Poush. The sweets were somewhat same, except the “Taal” (Asian sugar palm), which is available only during the month of Janmashtami and it is used to make “Taler Bora” (Sugar palm fritters)and “Taler Kheer”(sweetened evaporated milk flavoured with sugar palm juice).

bengali narkel naru recipe

 Apart from them, there were Narus (Bengali laddu) – narkel naru (coconut laddu), gurer naru (jiggery laddu), tiler naru (sesame seeds laddu), and there were Mowa (crunchy laddus with jageery), like murir mowa (puffed rice laddu) and khoiyer mowa, chaler mowa (rice laddu). Then there were patisapta (Bengali savoury rice crepe), puli ( Bengali rice dumpling), dudh puli (steamed rice dumplings simmered in thickened and sweetened milk), pithe (Bengali stuffed sweet hand pies), bhaja pithe (deep fried Bengali stuffed sweet hand pies), kheerer puli (sweetened evaporated milk stuffed rice dumplings), narkel puli (savoury coconut fillings stuffed Bengali rice dumplings), bhapa puli (steamed stuffed Bengali rice dumplings) and finally there was Malpua (savoury deep fried Bengali crepe made of flour, semolina and flavoured with green cardamom and fennel seeds, which is simmered in thick sugar syrup afterwards).

bengali coconut laddu recipe

narkel naru recipe with step by step pictures

bengali coconut laddu recipe

Big kadai, dechkis (large dutch oven style cooking vessel made of aluminium) and hatas (cooking spoons) were dug out of the store room one or two days before the occasion and the whole family just devoted themselves towards making all these for the puja. Now these enormous amount of foods were not only for the family but for the locality / para.  Plates consisting of these savoury sweets were distributed among some of the families of the para after the puja. They also did the same. So in the end, we had different types of these goodies. Some were also sent to the relatives.

bengali style coconut laddu recipe

I was never good at making sweets. But this time during Janmashtami I took another attempt and made these sweet balls of coconut. Earlier I made Narkel Naru using dessicated coconut and condensed milk. Although they came out great they were not even an inch close to the taste with which I grew up. So I gave up making instant laddus and went for making them from the scratch. To me the process is quite the same, but you have to be extra careful when you are cooking with fresh coconut. First is you have to give your total attention or else they will burn and if you cook 2 minutes more after the mixture forms the sticky lump, you will end up having a kadai full of dessicated coconuts. Which are really of no use.

how to make narkel naru

Narkel  Naru or Coconut laddus are my favourite. You can make them in two different ways. First is how I made it here and in the second process you caramelize the sugar and then sauté the coconut in them. In that way you will get this dark brown colour and the much desired caramelized flicker. Needless to say I am fond of that too. But that one, I will show in another post.

bengali style coconut laddu recipe

Narkel Naru / Bengali Coconut Laddu
Makes approximately 25 small laddus

simple coconut laddu recipe with step by step pictures

3 small fresh coconuts – grated (makes 2 and ½ cups of grated coconut)
1 cup of sugar
½ cup condensed milk (optional)
3-4 green cardamom / ½ tsp cardamom powder
½ cup of ghee

In a kadai heat half of the ghee and add in the green cardamoms.
Sauté for half a minute and as the ghee becomes aromatic, add in the scraped grated coconut and sugar into it.
Immediately start stirring. At first the mixture will become a little liquid because the sugar will melt and the coconut will ooze water, but you have to keep stirring, because otherwise the mixture will stick to the bottom of the kadai and burn. And it takes just some seconds.
After 3-4 minutes, you will see the mixture becoming tight and all the grated coconut will start to make small clumps. Soon they all will stick together and become a big lump.
Do not stir more and put off the flame immediately.
Add in the condensed milk and mix evenly.
Transfer them to a plate or tray and let them cool down a bit. Do not let them cool down completely or otherwise it will become impossible to shape them.
Now take the rest of the ghee. Take a pinch of them and moist your palm. Take a little of the prepared coconut mixture and give them a round ball shape.
Follow this process to make balls with the rest of the coconut mixture.

Let them come to room temperature and then serve.

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