Naarkel Naru or Sweet Coconut Balls, a sweet treat made with just 3 ingredients, makes an appearance as the second part of my Nolen Gur Series. It’s a very versatile recipe and I say so because you can actually use this even as filling for other Indian desserts such as Patishapta, Pithe, etc. For my Patishapta (Indian crepe) recipe, click here.
Naru can be easily made with plain sugar and you don’t really need Nolen Gur or ‘notun gur’. But what is Nolen Gur? Click here to see my post on this uniquely organic jaggery. Like I said in my Patishapa post, jaggery or gur does have a unique, organic flavor to it which elevates a dessert in more than one way – color and taste. This dessert or sweet treat is made on the occasion of ‘Sankranti’ during the winter months in India. Every state celebrates the ‘Festival of Harvest’ in their own way but a common pattern can be seen – dishes are made using ‘gur’ (freshly harvested jaggery), wheat, rice, and milk. In Bengal, my family would make Patishapta, Naaru, and Pithe. Naru is by far the easiest one to make and needs just 3 ingredients! And all it basically requires you to do while cooking is mix!
Ingredients you will need:
12 oz or 1 ½ cups dessicated coconut or freshly grated coconut
1 cup nolen gur or date palm jaggery
2-3 tbsp condensed milk
Method for cooking:
1. Heat a pan on high flame. Once hot, reduce to medium and add the desiccated or freshly grated coconut. Stir and cook for a few mins or until the coconut seems slightly cooked and has turned light brown.
2. Add the nolen gur at this point. Cook well for 5-7 mins stirring continuously or until it’s dark brown. If you have grated it, the gur will melt quickly. If not you will need a bit longer for the gur chunks to melt. Be patient! It’s worth it.
3. Before removing from the heat add condensed milk and give it a good stir and let all 3 ingredients mix well. The condensed milk will give it a sticky consistency. You may add or reduce the amount depending on taste. Once you see that the mix is sticking to the spatula, you know your ‘naru’ is done. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool down a bit.
4. Grease your squeaky clean hands with ghee or oil. Take a small amount (2 tsp approx.) and roll them between your hands in circular motion to make the balls. And that’s it, your traditional Bengali bite-size dessert is done!