Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sweet Coconut Rice

Living as an expat one realizes that festivals seem like festivals only because of the people and the surrounding atmosphere. In fact in the USofA, where I live, festivals are not even called as such, but are called holidays, and what we knew as holidays are strictly vacations.

Last week for example was raksha bandhan, which coincides with the nAraLI pournimA, which is celebrated along the coast of Maharashtra, but one wouldn't have known that by looking around. For the last several years, it has been just another day on the calendar for me, but this year things were different because of the presence of a brother and sister in the house. So naturally there was the rakhi ceremony, but the other visible sign was the traditional nAraLI bhAt or sweet coconut rice that is usually made on this day. Technically, this year nAraLI pournimA was a day before rakha bandhan as per the Hindu calendar, but that did not stop us from celebrating the tradition.

Based on the reactions of some people who were not familiar with this dish, I suspect that it could be an acquired taste. Well, more for me, because I thought it was just lovely and wondered why I hadn't ever made it before. If one likes rice, jaggery, and coconut, one is bound to like it.

I made it based on the recipe from the Marathi cookbook Ruchira, but have added more details and quantities here than in the original. There was also no saffron in the recipe, but I added some for luxury.

nAraLI bhAt
Sweet Coconut Rice


Sweet Coconut Rice

Serves 6-8 for dessert

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons milk
a pinch of saffron strands

1-1/2 cups rice
4 Tablespoons ghee
5-7 cloves
5-6 green cardamom pods
2 cups freshly shredded coconut
2 cups jaggery (not tightly packed)
2-3 T golden raisins
a few Tablespoons sliced almonds

Method

Heat the milk just enough to warm it, crumble in strands of saffron into it, and leave aside.

Wash the rice and leave it to soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour, and drain the water when ready to cook. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan, add the cloves, and then the rice, and stir it around till the rice is coated with the ghee. Add 3 cups of water, bring it to a boil. The turn the heat to medium, place a lid partially on top, and let the rice cook for about 10-15 minutes. Since it has been presoaked, it will take less than usual to cook.

In the meanwhile, peel the cardamom and powder the seeds in a mortar and pestle.

Take the jaggery and coconut in a large wok or kadhai, and cook it together on medium heat until the jaggery has melted. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the cooked rice to it and mix it together along with the cardamom, saffron, golden raisins, and almonds.

23 comments:

Kelly Mahoney said...

I know being an expat is hard. When we lived abroad, we went to Wendy's every Sunday night because it was the only "American" food we could get. I don't think I even like Wendy's all that much, but it was like home.

bhags said...

Narali bhat,always epitomized a festival at my home....u r right bout the holidays we have in India and the vacations here.....pic looks nice

Madhu said...

Coconut rice with jaggery looks delicious.....I am surprised to see jaggery has not effected the colour of the rice.

Vee said...

I have always heard of narali bhat growing up. I echo Madhu's surprise at the lack of color on the rice. Also, How is this different from the sakhar bhat? I mean except for the obvious jaggery instead of sugar...

TBC said...

You said it so well in your first paragraph. I have never made this before but it certainly sounds like something I would like.I like jaggery, love rice & cannot live without coconut! :-)I am bookmarking this one. Thanks!

Suganya said...

Festivals are an excuse to be together with yr loved ones and enjoy great food. No family around here makes it another mundane day. This is what I realised during my first Deepavali here :(

Pooja V said...

I loved this recipe, for one it has rice in it n secondly it has cocnut in it.

TheCooker said...

Assuming you were the sister in the house...what was the loot?

musical said...

I agree, here, many a time, we don't even realize that there's a festival coming up :). But i compensate during holidays ;). Lovely Narali bhaat, i can smell the divine aroma!

Tee said...

Festivals = family and lots of people around. Without them you just don't get the sense of celebrating anything...
Narali bhaat looks delicious! Its good to keep our traditions alive :)

Asha said...

LOL! Holiday in UK is vacation too.

Coconut,rice and Jaggery,you don't anything else and oh, some cardamom pd!:)

Rajitha said...

looks delicious and so white and attractive in that red bowl!

Raaga said...

white jaggery?? :-) Yummy

Richa said...

looks delicious!
good to know gul can be used here, that makes it a must try :)

Priyanka said...

Narali bhaat is my 3rd favorite indian sweet..... havent made it before...just lapped it up when my mom made it...its time i tried it out...urs luks absolutely mouthwatering:)

evolvingtastes said...

Kelly, if I lived anywhere outside India or the US, I might do the same too.

Hi Bhags, welcome to my blog - are you from Maharashtra? If not, I am curious about where else nAraLi bhAt is made.

Madhu, Vee, there are a couple of reasons for the light color. First, the jaggery happened to be quite light in color, and second, I think the total quantity of rice and coconut is a lot more than that of the jaggery, so the color is quite subtle.

Vee, sakhar bhaat of course has sugar instead of jaggery, and there is no coconut in it either. See cooker's recipe here: http://the-cooker.blogspot.com/2007/06/sakhar-sugar-bhaat.html

TBC, thanks. Let me know if you try it out.

evolvingtastes said...

Suganya, that's so true.

Thanks Pooja.

TheCooker, no loot for me. Instead, we had to appease a little ABD girl with a gift, because she thought it was so not fair that only boys got a rakhi. :-)

musical, thanks. ha ha - yes, comp during the 'holidays'.

Thanks Tee. I agree, and atleast I am trying on the food front of the traditions. :)

evolvingtastes said...

Asha, we got it from the British for sure.

Thanks Rajitha.

Raaga, the jaggery wasn't white, but it was nearly cream colored, which was all well and good, because incidentally the ruchira recipe called for a 'chAnglA pivLA gUL' which translates to 'good yellow jaggery'.

Richa, thanks!

Priyanka, what are the first two? This one is really easy.

Cynthia said...

The only sweet rice dish I know of is rice pudding (kheer) but I have taken note of this one.

Rachna said...

this looks unique, hey...will def try... on narali poornia, it was also Lord Balram Jayanti...

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

every year after year on Narali Purnima, my wife cooks Narali Bha without fail.

Priyanka said...

the first one is puranpoli and second one is ukadiche modak:)i have tried out both of them...

evolvingtastes said...

Cynthia, that's cool. I know already that you are a fan of coconuts.

Rachna, I didn't know; thanks for letting me know.

harekrishnaji, lucky you. I am going to try and make it an annual thing too.

Priyanka, you might not believe me, but those were my guesses, in that exact order!! You are a true Maharashtrian.

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