Coconut is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet . And maybe because of this , coconuts has much religious significance for the Hindus . This post is about making yummy laddus from the coconut flesh in Assamese style – Narikol Laru .
I happen to love coconut , particularly for that sweet and crunchy texture it adds to any dish . ~ Marcus Samuelsson
- Two to three coconuts .
- About two hundred and fifty grams of sugar or jaggery (according to taste) .
- A pinch of salt .
- Four – five cardamom pods .
- One tablespoon ghee .
Remove the outer cover and then crack the shell to remove the water inside the coconut . Extract the white flesh of the coconut and grate it . You can use a hand-held grater ( one which is used to get thin strands ) or even you food processor if it has a grating blade . If you are using jaggery , grind it as well or cut it into small pieces . Alternatively , you can melt the jaggery in a cup of warm milk .
Heat about a tablespoon of ghee in a shallow bottomed non-stick pan . Open the cardamom pods and add them to the pan after the ghee melts . Then add the grated coconut and stir the contents . After about five minutes , add the sugar or jaggery as per your choice . Stir this mix for every few minutes till the coconut starts releasing its awesome aroma . Then add a table-spoon of sweetened condensed milk . Keep stirring till the coconut gets caramelized to a lovely golden brown colour . And keep your gas on simmer throughout the process .
Switch off the heat and let it cool for about half an hour or till you handle the coconut mixture with your hands . Take a fistful of the mixture on your palm and roll it tightly to form a sphere . I prefer using both hands to form a proper shape and thickness for my narikol laru . You can also add dry fruits to the narikol laru for extra texture and flavor .
Puddings are an English creation but they have become even more famous in India because of the range of ingredients available here . This recipe is for my version of Assamese payokh of their rice pudding or rice kheer . The special ingredient used here is the Black rice from Manipur . Apart from producing a beautiful chocolatey brown colour , it also has a great earthy aroma and makes the rice pudding even more creamy .
Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not !
- About 250 grams of Manipuri brown rice .
- One litre milk (better with full fat milk) .
- Two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk .
- Sugar according to taste .
- Few cardamom pods and bay leaves .
- Rose water .
- Dry fruits of your choice .
Wash and soak the rice for about an hour . Drain the water and let it stand for about five minutes before cooking to lose the access water .
Boil the rice in the milk in a deep pan . Then add two bay leaves , two – three cardamom pods and few drops of rose-water to the milk . Keep the flame in simmer till the rice is boiled and becomes soft .
Keep stirring occasionally so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan . Please stay nearby so that the milk doesn’t boil and overflow the pan .
Leave it in a little watery state as the rice tends to absorb a little liquid even after the removing the heat to cool it . There you have my version of aromatic payokh or rice pudding ready to be served .
Garnish with dry fruits of your choice and a bit of fresh cream . You can serve it warm or cold according to your choice .
The color is completely due to the rice . No artificial colors have been added here .
Continuing the thread of authentic Assamese cuisines , I want to tell you about another sweet delicacy . Narikol pitha is specially for all the sweet toothed coconut lovers .
Coconut is one of those love hate ingredients . ~ Marcus Samuelsson
- One kilo of sticky rice .
- Two to three coconuts .
- About two – three hundred grams of sugar or jaggery (according to taste) .
- A pinch of salt .
- Few cardamom pods .
Wash and soak the rice for about four – five hours . Meanwhile, grate the coconut flesh and mix it with the sugar or jaggery( in melted or powdered form ) . Put this sweet coconut mix in a nonstick pan and stir for sometime in a low flame . Also add the cardamom to the pan . Stirring this mix for about five – ten minutes will produce a nice golden brown color and lovely aroma . That is when u can remove the pan from the flames . For extra taste you can add a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk while stirring .
Leave the coconut mix to cool down and grind the rice to a fine flour . Use a fine sieve to remove any rice pieces left in the powder . Add a pinch of salt to this powder and mix it .
Warm up a flat pan for making the narikol pitha (do not make it too hot , otherwise the flour will stick to the pan ) . Use about a fistful of the flour and make a small round shape of about half a centimeter thickness as shown in the center of the picture . The heat makes the flour stick and forms small roti – like shape . Add about two teaspoons of the sweet coconut mix in the middle of the pitha and fold it in the middle to form a semicircular shape as shown in the picture . Press the edges to seal the coconut inside the pitha .
There you have your recipe for another Assamese delicacy popularly known as narikol pitha or japa pitha . It can be preserved for more than a week if kept in a dry air-tight container , but it tastes absolutely heavenly directly of the pan .So try to serve it hot .