"Mahalaya" is the end of "Pitripaksha" and the start of "Devipaksha"! It literally marks the beginning of "Durgapuja". Well, I have loads of memories with this particular day! It always remained really special for me (like most of the Bengali).
I always felt very hard to fall asleep that night...anxious, thrilled with thousands of plans for puja days! Never wanted to miss the starting of "Mahishasuramardini" on "Akashvani". But somehow never managed to do so. Baba used to turn on the radio and try to wake me up! I would pull the blanket little more and feel the awesomeness of "Chandi paath" and the sound of "sankha" from neighbourhood. Morning breeze is cooled with the fragrance of "Shiuli" flower. The whole environment is something "out of the world"! That's the very way my "Mahalaya" days used to start!
It's "Mahalaya" tomorrow. So I made something sweet to celebrate! Made "Narkel naru" (Coconut Laddu), the sweet I love the most. Ma makes it every year for Bijoya Dashami. There are two common variations of this sweet. One is with sugarcane jaggery and other is with sugar. Ma adds "Kheer", if making it with sugar. Sharing my Ma's recipe here.
Ingredients for "Narkel Naru":
For 18-19 pieces
- Coconut 1 large (Freshly grated)
- Milk 1 litre
- Sugar 1 and 1/2 cup + 1 table spoon
How to prepare "Narkel Naru":
- Make the "kheer" first. Take a wide pan. Add milk and bring it to boil. Stir it continuously over high flame until it thickens to a creamy consistency. Scrape the sides as needed. The milk should reduce to one cup.
- Now add 1 table spoon sugar to the "kheer". Mix well for 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat. Keep it separately.
- Grind shredded coconut for a minute or 2 using a food processor.
- Take another pan and add coconut, 1 and half cup sugar to it. Mix it really well with your hand.
- Heat it up. Stir it continuously over medium heat until colour changes and sugar feels sticky. And coconut is cooked. It took almost 6-8 minutes for me. It may take more or less time due to several reasons.
- Now add the "kheer" you made before. Stir , mix and cook over medium flame until coconut mix is leaving the pan easily. And looks like you can shape "laddu"s. Mine took almost 4 minutes. (It may take little more or less for you...please keep checking)
- Turn off the heat and stir it for few more minutes. Give it desirable shapes. And "Narkel Naru"s are ready !
Note: You can add green cardamom powder or a pinch of camphor for extra flavour. Also you can add chopped cashew nuts and raisin if you wish.
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