According to Rinku Bhattacharya, the author of “The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles–Exploring the Cuisine of Eastern India,” reviewed in this week’s (February 15) Jewish Standard, “to some the hallmark of a true Bengali is his proverbial sweet tooth.”
I think we could probably say that for Jews as well.. I think my family would be a prime example, even with my husband, a diabetic, we have found lots of no-sugar added treats for him, including ice cream. So, with the spirit of Purim upon us, here is an interesting recipe to make for a holiday table. There is no dairy in the recipe.
The following dessert is a symbol of the Indian festival of Lokkhi/Lakshmi Puja– a domestic festival celebrated in most households in a simple way. The author notes that one needs patience to make this recipe and the toffee balls need to be cooked on very low heat and stirred frequently to release the natural oils of the coconut.
Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 30 minutes; Yield: 20 small narus
Coconut Toffee Balls
2 cups grated coconut (can use the frozen variety)
3/4 cup jaggery (sugar made from sugar cane, date palms, or coconut)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder ( used as a spice for sweet dishes)
In a wok or skillet on very low heat, cook the coconut, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes. The coconut should be turning light brown and aromatic and begin releasing some oil.
Add the jaggery and continue cooking on low, stirring frequently, until the jaggery is melted and the mixture is well browned and very fragrant and toffee-like. (there should be plenty of coconut oil glistening on the mixture)
Stir in the cardamom powder. Remove from heat and let cool until able to be handled.
Shape into small balls. These balls keep well for a couple of weeks at room temperatures up to 70 degrees or refrigerated. If refrigerated, they should be brought to room temperature before serving.