For me, Diwali sweets/savories have always been one of the best part of Diwali. We Maharashtrians call it “Diwali Pharaal”. I have fond memories of mom and Meena chya aai (our part-time cook then and now my mom’s friend) making karanjis and chaklis at home when I was a child. I was their little helper; I’m not sure how much my presence actually helped them but they always indulged me. However, as I grew up my enthusiasm for laboring in the kitchen for hours waned but not my liking for the pharaal. I know loads of people who don’t like eating the typical Diwali sweets/savories especially during Diwali, because these are offered in every household they visit. But not me; I always enjoy the chakalis, shankar paali, shev and chivdas. When it comes to karanjis however, I must confess I like the ones my mom makes.
This Diwali however we didn’t cook any pharaal at home; we bought it. I had mentioned about the outbreak of HFMD (viral infection) in Mumbai. Well, it finally caught up with Devansh last weekend. Luckily he didn’t have any physical discomfort despite the rash on his hands and legs. But it meant that he had to stay put at home lest he passes the infection on to other babies or toddlers. So here we are cooped up at home, going out just once a day for a drive. Devansh has been trying to entertain himself at home; his masti has increased exponentially, leaving me and mom with very little spare time on our hands. Once my mom was trying to keep him occupied with a coloring book and some crayons. Getting him to sit in one place for even 5 minutes was such a Herculean task. His teacher deserves a medal for handling 10-12 such kids at the same time, mom announced.
You’ll think now I’m off track; I’m not, I’m just giving excuses as to why I didn’t cook anything special for Diwali for the blog. :p But I didn’t want to not post anything for Diwali, after all it is my all-time favorite festival. I’m posting the recipe of naarali bhaat, a Maharashtrian dish that’s usually made on the Narali Purnima day (same day as Raksha Bandhan), that’s when mom had made it too. Actually, Prema maushi, my cook made it based on my mom’s instructions. Devansh had liked this sweet rice, and it was made using jaggery instead of sugar. So the recipe fit the two most important parameters of my blog, and it is a festive food too. So if you want to make something sweet and different for your family this Diwali, give this sweet coconut rice a try. I’m sure you will enjoy it
And here’s wishing all you lovely mommies, daddies, uncles, and aunties, a joyous and fun-filled Diwali. May this festival of lights brighten up your life with lots of love, happiness, peace, and prosperity. !!Shubh Deepawali!!
Sweet Coconut Rice (Narali Bhat) Recipe
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup grated fresh coconut
- 3/4 th cup grated jaggery
- 4 cloves
- 2-3 cardamoms powdered
- 2-3 tbsp raisins and sliced cashew nuts and almonds
- 2-3 tbsp homemade ghee
- Wash rice, drain, and then set aside to dry for an hour or so. (Basmati rice is preferable.)
- Heat a pan, add 1 tbsp ghee and cloves.
- Add rice, and roast on ghee for a couple of minutes.
- Cook rice in pressure cooker by adding slightly more water than you usually do for rice. Mom added about 2 and a half cup water. (Excess water will get absorbed when you cook it later by adding coconut and jaggery.)
- Meanwhile mix grated coconut and jaggery properly in a separate vessel.
- Heat a pan on low heat, add 1-2 tbsp ghee, coconut-jaggery mixture, cardamom powder, sliced cashew nuts and almonds, and mix well.
- Add rice and mix carefully to ensure that you don't break the grains.
- Cook on low flame for about 15-20 minutes till the coconut and jaggery mixture gets cooked properly. Keep stirring every 5 minutes or so to ensure that the rice doesn't get burnt at the bottom of the pan. (Mom covers the pan partially, while the rice is getting cooked.)