Happy Sankranti to all my readers.
In last few days we were busy transferring our site to a different server. Hence could not post any new recipes.
Gur’er naru or coconut jaggery sweet balls is one amazingly simple Indian confection that you can make at home in no time.
Paper boats. Colorful toffee wrappers. Orange shaped lozenges. Narkel’er naru. Childhood memories. Precious moments resplendent with innocence, joy and mischief. In a Bengali household these sweet confection balls of jaggery and coconut becomes a very much part of the growing up years of every child I suppose.
So many childhood memories are weaved around this single confection. Giggles. Laughter. Magic of its sweet aroma. Mischief. Late afternoon’s naru (coconut sweet balls) hunting mission, tiptoeing silently to Grandma’s room, then sneaking one, two, three, five naru’s from Grandma’s jar while she fast asleep in her little bed, her silver hair flowing all over the hemmed pillows. In the evening while she was about to enjoy one or two naru with her tea, she might have observed the slight displacement of the confection jars. She might have smiled to herself, knowing who did this and thought of making another batch soon.
Sometimes life is so simple, beautiful and delicious. Just like this gur’er naru. Where sweet milky grated coconut meets the sweet-smelling dark amber color liquid, together they creates a magic called gur’er naru. Few toasted and crushed cardamoms heighten the flavour. These naru store very well, over a week. Well, will they last that longer ?
Some like it soft and crumbly and others like me love it when it is sticky. If you cannot source jaggery you can make it with sugar instead. But winter and jaggery has some unexplained cosmic connections. I feel they taste better than the sugar. You can also add brown sugar or molasses to prepare this divine food. Yes, divine because our Goddess Lakshmi also seems to love this confection. If you prefer it sticky, then add more jaggery and let the magic unfolds before you.
Put one naru in your mouth and forget all the difficulties in life. Relive your childhood once again.
- Grated coconut : 3 cups (use fresh or frozen, both works well)
- Jaggery (crushed to a coarse powder form) : 2 cups +
- Cardamoms: 5-6 small coarsely pounded
- Water / coconut water : 3tbsp
- Grate the coconut. You can use fresh or frozen both. If you are using frozen ones, then do not thaw it.
- Crushed the gur or jaggery to a very coarse powder form. Or atleast crush it to a medieum nodule sizes.
- I have used here an organic jaggery powder and loved it very much. The fragrance was so aromatic.
- Use a non stick pan to make this recipe. Though you can make it in kadhai or steel vessels, but there always remains a chance that the gur / jaggery will burn.
- So I prefer a non stick pan. Heat the water. You can use coconut water too.
- On a low flame, add half of jaggery and let it melt.
- Give it a stir to check that it is not burning. Else lower the heat further.
- Add all of the grated coconut and let it remain like that for few minutes.
- Give it a stir, by this time you will see that jaggery has incorporated the coconut well.
- Add the cardamom powder or freshly pound some cardamoms and add it to the coconut.
- Next, add the remaining gur and keep stirring from time to time.
- Cook this on low flame so that you will know that is is slowly forming a mass.
- If you want to make it sticky and love the deep brownish hue then add two to three tablespoon jaggery more.
- Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per your taste.
- Keep on cooking it on low flame till all the jaggery melts and is well incorporated into the coconut.
- For sticky balls, a thin layer of jaggery should float on top.
- Switch off the heat when you think that it is forming small lumps.
- It is consider done when no more coconut mixure falls off freely from the spatula.
- Form the balls when it is still warm.
- Serve it at room temperature.
These sweet confection balls or laddoo should be moist.
While forming the balls, the sticky juices of jaggery should oozes out from the lumps.
Roll it firmly between your palms and make the balls.
You can coated it with crushed dry fruits too.
They store well, keep them in a jar and enjoy it.
Today for Sankranti I am preparing another traditional dish called “Dudh puli“. Unlike my Mother and her mother who prepares an array of Sankranti platter, I prefer to experience one at a time. Yes, I am a bit lazy, if you think so.