It is human nature to feel stronger, complete and united when we are among other fellow natives celebrating a festival. Even with busy schedule and hectic life style, we tend to come together and celebrate traditional festivals collectively. The Bengali New Year or the celebration of Nobo Borsho, celebrated April 14 each year, is one of such festivals where Bengalis forget their differences and come together. Bengalis arrange traditional fairs, known as Boishakhi Mela, in almost all major cities around the world.
In addition to going to the multiple Boishakhi Mela in the area, we arrange a yearly “Panta Utshob” potluck at home every year. Panta-Ilish is the traditional meal associated with celebrating nobo borsho hence the name – panta utshob(panta festival). This year would be the 7th year we’ll be hosting, so it has become a happy tradition among our friends to look forward to getting the invite and off course the gathering, fun, laughter and food.
Another item our friends look forward to for the panta utshob is coconut laddu, also called narikel naru, prepared by yours truly. They seem to never get bored with it and no matter how much I make, I never end up with leftovers. That tells something, doesn’t it? Can you imagine how good these soft, snowy coconut naru taste like? Pristine white, slightly sticky, cardamom and cinnamon flavored snowy, delicious coconut balls. Delish!
As much as I would love to prepare the laddu/naru with freshly grated coconut, I just don’t have the time to go through processing a coconut. So far, none of my friends or family members complained (on the contrary, they rave about the naru). With all the compliments I always get for these laddus, I am not in a rush to take the hassle to break and grate a fresh coconut yet to prepare these. The age old recipe gets a new spin in my humble kitchen that takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.
Coconut laddu/naru is my go to traditional sweet if I need to whip something in less than 20 minutes. It is quick and easy to make, tastes heavenly and never fails to impress any of my friends and family. Added bonus, the laddus only take 5 ingredients and can be frozen. Hard to beat, right? I know. Feel free to add nuts, raisins if you like. I usually keep the traditional version without any additional ingredients. At my family, we always preferred the soft naru/laddu. However, there’s another version where the coconut is cooked until the sugar crystalizes making the naru hard as it cools. Additional sugar is needed for the harder nary. If you are freezing the laddus, just thaw them in the refrigerator and they’ll be ready to consume.
“Mishti Mukh” meaning sweetening your mouth for good luck or for a happy news is a ritual in Bangladesh. Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar is a new beginning and a very appropriate time for “Mishti-Mukh“.
Yields: 20-25 pieces
2½ cups desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
3 green cardamom
2-3 cinnamon sticks, each about 1 inch long
1 cup milk
1 cup condensed milk
- Mix all ingredients in a pan.
- Turn on stove and cook in low medium heat, stirring constantly until sticky and a mass pulls away from the pan.
- Let cool a little. Once the mixture is warm to handle, make about an inch diameter balls.
- Feel free to adjust condensed milk quantity to taste. You can use sugar and additional milk to replace condensed milk. In that case, cooking time will increase to achieve the desired stickiness.
- Add nuts, raisins if you like. I usually keep the traditional version without any additional ingredients.
- At my family, we always preferred the soft naru/laddu. However, there’s another version where the coconut is cooked until the sugar crystallizes making the naru hard as it cools. Additional sugar is needed for the harder naru.
২ ১/২ কাপ নারিকেল (চিনি ছাড়া শুষ্ক গুড়া নারিকেল বা কুড়ানো নারিকেল)
৩টি সবুজ/ছোট এলাচ
২-৩টি দারুচিনি, প্রতিটি প্রায় ১ ইঞ্চি লম্বা
১ কাপ দুধ
১ কাপ কন্ডেনস্ড মিল্ক
১. একটি প্যানে সব উপকরণ দিয়ে ভালভাবে মেশান।
২. চুলা চালু করুন এবং নিম্ন মাঝারি তাপে নাড়তে থাকুন। নারিকেল চটচটে হয়ে দলা বেঁধে আসলে চুলা বন্ধ করে দিন।
৩. মিশ্রণ ঠান্ডা হলে একটি ইঞ্চি বলের আকারে নাড়ু তৈরী করুন।
প্রয়োজনিও কিছু টিপস্ এর জনে্য দয়াকরে আটির্কেল অথবা ইংরেজি রেসিপির নোট সেকশন টা একটু দেখে নেবেন।