This Janmashtami I made Coconut Ladoo which in Bengali we call “Narkel-er Naru“. Janmashtami – the day celebrated in Hindu mythology as Lord Krishna’s birthday – is a grand affair at my in law’s. Me and my husband, well lets say, though we are spiritual at heart we do not follow any set rules for such religious celebrations. However this time, hearing my Ma-in-law talking about the preparations for the festival made us want to do something as well. So Hubby B decides to go veg (which is a BIG thing!). That was all I needed to workup a feast of luchi (pooris), cholar dal (chana dal) and sooji halwa. Narkel naru was added later to it and to keep it simple and quick I thought of using the can of condensed milk lying in the pantry.
You can also make it with jaggery and it looks brown, but we love the white sugary ones. This is probably the simplest and quickest of the sweets that I know and does not require too much of effort or ingredients or preparation.
- Coconut, shredded/grated (unsweetened) – 2 cups; I used coconut powder
- Milk – 3 to 4 cups, if using half and half or evaporated milk or a combination of any of these – adjust the quantity accordingly; I used 3/4th of a can of Condensed Milk – approx. 300 gms and 1/2 cup of 2% milk
- Sugar 1/2 to 3/4 cup or as needed, may need no sugar/less sugar if using condensed milk.
- Cardamom powder – 1 to 2 tsp, optional (I did not use it)
- Heat a pan on low heat. Add the shredded coconut and dry roast it, stirring continuously, for a couple of minutes.
- Add milk /half and half / condensed milk or a combination of any of these to it. I added a combination of condensed milk and 1/2 cup of milk.
- Raise the flame to a medium and let the milk come to a boil. Keep stirring continuously and do not let any of the mixture stick to the bottom of the pan. May have to keep scraping it off!
- After around 10-15 mins the mixture starts to thicken, the timings depend entirely on the thickness of the milk used. If using sugar add at this point as to taste. The milk thickens considerably after adding sugar. If using condensed milk only, may not need any sugar at all.
- As the mixture dries up add some cardamom powder to it if desired. I skipped this step.
- You will know the mixture is ready when you can take a small portion of it and be able to form a firm ball out of it. Then, remove it a plate and let it cool.
- Once completely cooled, grease your palms with a little oil, and make small lime sized balls out of it.
- Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.