Narkel Naru (Bengali Coconut Ladoo)… A sweet dish for Durga Puja

Narkel Naru is a sweet dish from Bengal made from coconut, milk, and sugar or jaggery.  Traditionally consumed during pujas and Indian festivals, these coconut ladoos are essential sweets in Bengali families during Navratri, or the ‘Nine Nights Festival’.  Navratri is a Hindu festival lasting 10 days and 9 nights, during which Goddess Durga is worshipped.  The 10th day, commonly known as Vijayadashami or Dussehra will be celebrated tomorrow.  This is the perfect opportunity for me to share this recipe, which I adapted from here:-)

I must say that this is a pure coincidence that I came across this sweet just in time for Navratri.  :-)  I had no idea what Narkel Naru was until RO from ‘Comebacktobeditscold mentioned it some time back.  I’m glad I was curious enough to look it up on the net.  The idea fresh coconut cooked with milk, sugar and cardamom was totally appealing to me.  The coconut balls made from this cooked mixture are soft, chewy, and amazingly delicious!  :-)

INGREDIENTS :

  • 2 1/2 cups grated coconut, fresh or frozen (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (according to taste)
  • 1 – 2 tsp powdered cardamom
  • rose essence (optional)
  • 4 cups milk OR 2 cups milk+1 cup evaporated milk OR 2 cups evaporated milk

METHOD :

  • Add 4 cups milk to a pan and boil till reduced to half in volume.  I used 2 cups milk and 1 cup evaporated milk.  So it takes less time to reduce to about 2 cup.  You may as well use 2 cups evaporated milk straight away.  I also added 3 – 4 cardamom pods while boiling the milk and removed them when reduced.  This is just because I wanted a strong cardamom flavor.  :-)
  • Mix in the sugar into the milk until dissolved.  (I used only ½ cup)
  • Add the grated coconut.  Continue cooking on low heat, stirring frequently until the milk almost dries up.  The mixture will start coming away from the sides of the pan.  This will take around 20 minutes.
  • Add the cardamom powder and rose essence when it’s almost ready.  (The flavor of cardamom is lost when subjected to heat for too long.)
  • Do not dry the mixture too much else you won’t be able to make balls.  What you can do is; when you think its ready take a small amount of the mixture and try to make a ball.  If you find it too moist then cook for slightly longer.
  • Switch off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.  When still warm to touch, make small balls by rolling between your palms.  The ladoos will dry up and become firm once completely cooled.

Store the coconut ladoos in the refrigerator.  These keep well for several days.

I like the way bits of grated coconut were sticking out of my ladoos; but if you don’t like those then you can shred the coconut more finely in your grinder.  Enjoy!  :-)

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12 responses to “Narkel Naru (Bengali Coconut Ladoo)… A sweet dish for Durga Puja

  1. Those sound so good! I love coconut too.

  2. We had so many coconuts growing in our garden when we lived in Mauritius and my hubby made beautiful candles and the like from the shells – sadly I never really made anything with the coconut though. These look lovely. :-) Mandy

    • The coconut water and cream are absolutely refreshing. We have few trees in our yards; the coconut are ready just in time for summer! :-) The thick coconut flesh is obtained when they are left to mature longer on the trees. It is kind of hard to peel and remove the tough outer part though.

  3. Ooooh, this looks so interesting and I’m sure it tastes amazing. I had the good fortune to attend a Hindu wedding a few years back and tasted some wonderful bits and dishes not usually found in restaurants, including a sweet that had coconut and rose water…am wondering if this might be the same. Lovely.

  4. Thanks! :-) I’m not sure if this is the same sweet since the rosewater in this was an addition of my own, usually rosewater is not used in these coconut ladoos. But you can still try it, it does taste amazing! :-)

  5. Ha! I’m sure you are correct as once I read your comment I remembered (this was 15 years ago in my defense) that the beverage was a rosewater flavor and the sweets were coconut. My husband has confirmed this. I imagine that your ladoos are terrific!

    • Ohhh.. I can imagine how amazing a rosewater flavoured beverage must be! :-) It is something relatively new to me and I tend to add rosewater to my sweet dishes on every occasion possible; just to tell you how much I love it!

  6. Hi, This looks absolutely delicious. I love anything with coconut. They really look inviting.

  7. mala chakravorty

    good one… i used to make these often but anyways thanks for sharing

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