Well, while we celebrate all of that, come into mid- April (well almost), the celebrations vary by days, several parts of India, notably Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh in South India, Punjab in North India and Assam and West Bengali in Eastern India have their versions of a new year. You get more about the South Indian flavors of these celebrations through Nivedita’s post here.
I actually began today, feeling a little guilty. I took the kids for their weekend dance lessons and I saw all the other kids beautifully dressed up in lovely Indian outfit, while me and the brood were comfortable and well dressed in clean and cosy sweats. Well, I did have two games following the dance classes and I also, tried to convince myself that the Bengali New Year is really all about food.
Actually, for me it is a symbolic almost mid-year pause, where I try to think about the direction of the year and how it is heading. I think we should be ok in the food department, if you really want to see what we will be cooking you can stop by the facebook page.
The recipe of the day, is for these lovely coconut and jaggery toffee balls, that I share from the Bengali Five Spice Chronicles that was a great help since I did not have to re-write the recipe. Now, in the interest of fair disclosure while these were what I could come up with on quick notice and my daughter loved them, these are typically a traditional dessert for Lokkhi Puja, which actually is a fall Bengali Festival.
Nonetheless, for some reason I was not the only one who came up with these lovely sweet toffee like balls on this cool spring weekend. For a version, with mindblowing pictures, you can check out Soma’s version.
These lovely simple coconut balls are called naru, almost as in nadu (with a rough r) and need three ingredients and some patience. They are made with jaggery, coconut and cardamom seeds. The important thing with these balls is to ensure that they are cooked low and slow so that the coconut releases its natural oils to both bind and add some deep flavor into the almost toffee like dessert.
I did use store bough frozen coconut and do so quite often, while this is acceptable, it does create a rougher texture from what the traditional balls are like. So, really it is upto you if you actually want to scrape a fresh coconut. However, if you do it is well worth the effort.So maybe my New Year resolution for this Lokkhi Puja will be to make them from the scratch.
Anyhow, before I get to the recipe, here is wishing you and yours a happy spring and festive year ahead.