Called the ‘plant of life’ or Kalpavriksha, each and every part of the coconut tree is useful in some way and it often finds its way into Indian cooking. The coastal region’s love affair with coconut needs no introduction. This ingredient reigns supreme for the Goans, Konkanis, Malwanis, Kannadigas, Tamilians and Keralites. From sweet to savoury and everything in between – coconut finds its way into almost every dish. It is therefore no surprise that there's a coconut version of the classic barfi recipe. The traditional nariyal barfi or thengai barfi recipe uses freshly grated coconuts and is reserved for festivals and celebrations.
(Also read: Rookies guide to making barfi at home)
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai transports us to the coastal areas with this easy coconut barfi recipe.
Ingredients for Coconut Barfi Recipe
250g desiccated coconut
1/2 + 1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp ghee + a little extra for greasing
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Method for Coconut Barfi Recipe
1. Add 1/2 cup of walnuts to 1/4 cup of milk and let soak for one hour. In a food processor or mixer, blend this into a coarse puree.
2. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan and add the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts. Sauté till golden, drain and set aside.
3. Now in the same ghee, add in the desiccated coconut and sugar, and mix well. To this, add the walnut puree and mix again.
4. Keep cooking this until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides. Don’t forget to keep stirring at intervals to prevent the mixture from getting burnt. Next, add in the cardamom powder and fried walnuts and mix well.
5. Pour this mixture evenly into a greased plate or thali and let it sit for a few hours.
6. Slice and garnish with walnuts or serve plain.
Healthy Twist to Coconut Barfi
Coconut is naturally low on carbs, however, it has a high-fat content, therefore you shouldn’t binge too much on coconut barfis. It’s always best to skip the condensed milk in the barfi recipe and opt for no-fat milk instead. But, if you do choose to sweeten your barfi with store-bought sweetened and condensed milk, it’s best to skip on the sugar as it’s already going to be a sugar party. Apart from that, you could also throw in some nuts to further enhance the flavour and also increase the nutritive value of your barfi. If you do intend to add a pop of colour to your barfis, it's best to reach out for natural ingredients like saffron, cocoa powder and beetroot.
Storing Coconut Barfis
Since the coconut barfi is typically made with milk, chef Gorai says, “Even though the milk has been reduced, it’s not reduced to such an extent allowing the barfi to last for a longer duration." He, therefore, suggests transferring them to an air-tight container and then storing them in the refrigerator during summers, while in the winters, you could keep them outside, away from direct sunlight. Fresh desiccated coconut barfis have a shelf life of up to 4 to 5 days, and if you are using dry coconut then these sweet treats are good to consume within 10 to 15 days, informs chef Gorai.
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