Today I will share a very traditional Bengali Sweet recipe, which all of us used to love in our childhood days. Bengali pujas are not complete without the same. One week before Durga puja, every home in Bengal will start cutting coconut and then grate it to make this sweet. The smell used to bring a nice feeling that Puja is coming. I am talking about Narkel Naru or Coconut Ladoo.
I should have shared this before the festive season, but I couldn’t find time in the middle of preparations for the Puja! I have made more than hundred pieces of Narus this time for both Durga and Laxmi Puja. Several of my friends started asking if I have uploaded the recipe in the blog. I had to make another round of the same to take pictures. The taste is so addictive that my husband couldn’t stop eating before he finishes at least five.
Narkel Naru which is more like Coconut Ladoo in other parts of India is a sweet dish, made from fresh grated coconut, milk and sugar or jaggery. This sweet Coconut balls are soft, chewy and amazingly delicious. There are three kinds of Narkel Narus. One is "Chini r Naru" which is pure white in color and made of sugar and coconut. No milk will be added to that. Personally I never like these narus! The second one is "Kheer r Narkel Naru". The one I made yesterday, is made of sugar, milk and coconut! This is the most popular type. There is also "Gurer Naru" that is deep brown in shade and made of jaggery. I did not have any jaggery at my pantry and so added brown sugar in the place of white sugar to half of the coconut mixture. I must say that these came out really good and became just like Gurer Naru!
Making Narkel Naru is not a big deal these days because you get ready-made packet of frozen grated coconut. Unlike our mom or grandmother, we have no time to grate a coconut or to use whole milk in making Narus. I use condensed milk and evaporated milk that make the process simplified and cut the cooking time by half. You can complete the entire cooking in 30 minutes!
Recipe of Narkel Naru / Coconut Ladoo / Sweet Coconut Balls : for 25 pieces
Shredded Coconut : 1 packet / 340 gm / more than 4 cups
Evaporated Milk : 1 can
Whole Milk : 2 cups
Condensed Milk : 3/4 cup. ( if you want you can use the full can too )
Sugar or Brown Sugar : half cup or little less or more than half cup, as per the desired sweetness
Green Cardamoms - 2 or 3 ( crushed )
1. Thaw the coconut, if you use frozen coconut.
2. Take a heavy bottomed pan and add the coconut. Then Stir it on low flame for 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the whole milk. Once the coconut and the milk mixture will start bubbling, add the evaporated milk and the condensed milk to the pan. Mix it all together and let it cook on low to medium heat.
4. Add the sugar and keep stirring till the coconut is cooked. Once the milk almost dries up and the coconut mix comes out clean from the sides of pan add the cardamom. Again give some stirs and check the sweetness.
5. Turn off the gas and let the coconut mixture cool down. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle but still it is warm, make some little balls by rolling between your palms. Store them in an airtight box and refrigerate it or you can keep it out for 2 to 3 days. Enjoy Narkel Narus!