Thursday, September 24, 2009

Narkel Naru for Durga Pujo

Aaj Shoshthi. The Sixth day of Navratri and the beginning of Durga Puja. Strangely this Pujo, I do not miss home much. And I should have.

Even AnandaMela or Desh does not excite me much this year. I did not even book an online copy. Anyway it is only "Sirshendu" and "Bani Basu" that is worth a read, maybe I will borrow later I say to myself.

Instead I pine for a lost childhood, a childhood resplendent with glamor, light, excitement and happiness of Pujo. I miss the fervor, the excitement which would begin early with the colorful print ad of the annual Pujo Shankhya AnandoMela and would go on late after Lakshmi Pujo lingering on till Diwali. I miss the last minute packing, the new clothes, the bite of my new black ballerina, the jostling crowd, the blaring sounds, the pujo-pujo gondho... Or maybe I don't.I sometimes think I have just glamorized the whole thing and put layers of brighter colors over a faded sepia print. But I cannot deny the excitement, the wait, waiting for Pujo.

I try to enjoy Pujo here, for sake of myself, for my daughters. To let them know where their parents came from, where their roots lie. I buy them new clothes, I save clothes bought at "Back to school" sale to be worn during Pujo. It doesn't really matter much, clothes and shoes are necessities bought year round, new clothes for them does not herald Pujo.

We try go to the mandap(the place where Durga Pujo is being held) almost every day, back from work we deck up in finest silks and chiffon and are at the mandap late for the anjali but in time for dinner. The dhup-dhuno, the flowers, the Mother's glistening face enchants the little ones, they play round the mandap with their friends like we did.
If it is an extremely busy day like today we visit the Krishna Temple nearby instead. There Navratri celebrations are at a crescendo and in midst of Lalita Sahasranama chants I feel contented. Back home we string up twinkling Christmas lights on the porch, pick flowers to offer to the tiny idols sitting on my Puja shelf and light a lamp.

I cannot pass on to my daughters the pleasure of waiting for all those months for Durga Pujo, they will not know the excitement that Pujo can bring but I can redefine Pujo for them and that is what I do.

Maybe in the process I also redefine home. Maybe I am home this pujo.

And in my own way I make some sweets for Shoshthi. These were sweets which were actually made at Dashami, after the immersion, to sweeten lives and memories. These were Narkel Narus, two kinds. Gure'r Naru, the ones made with jaggery, deep brown in shade and Chini'r Naru, the pristine white ones made of sugar. I never like the gur'er naru much, with a little incompetence on the cook's side, these would be as hard as marbles. I preferred the white chini'r naru and this is what I make, late in the night after everyone goes to bed.

I cannot afford to grate a coconut, I have no time and the frozen MTR brand works just as fine for me. Unlike my Ma who uses whole milk and reduces it painstakingly, I use condensed milk and evaporated milk, cuts my cooking time by half. Rituals need not be so hard that we loathe & forget them, it is better to find easier means to enjoy them instead.

I am done in time for bed and an early start tomorrow. And yet I have a batch of narus which I will take as offerings to the goddess tomorrow. Narus, sweet, decadent and delicious, the perfect beginning to 5 days of Durga Pujo.

Edited to Add: And though it took me more than 30 mins to make these, it shouldn't have. I am slow and I kept the heat at low-medium, which stupid cook keeps heat at low to medium when they are cooking for a party. The better ones can do this under 30 and so these Narkel Narus join the Express Indian Party @ Anita's.
I am also sending the first pic to Heirloom:CLICK. The recipe is age old, the shortcuts are not.

Happy Durga Pujo

Get this recipe in my Book coming out soon. Check this blog for further updates. 


Narkel Naru/ Coconut Laddoo

You Need

Shredded Coconut -- slightly more than 3 cups. I have used the frozen MTR brand, you can grate and use fresh coconut. When using frozen thaw before use

Sugar -- 1 cup

Evaporated Milk -- approx. 2 cups. If using Whole Milk, you need to reduce 4 cups of milk to 2 cups

Condensed Milk -- 1/4 cup. You can skip this and increase sugar but I prefer this How I Do It

In a heavy bottomed deep pan mix the shredded coconut and sugar with hand thoroughly

Put the pan on low heat and then stir for 4-5 minutes. The sugar will melt and mix with coconut and the coconut will be lightly roasted

Add about 2 cups of evaporated milk and 1/4 cup of Condensed Milk to the above. Add some cardamom seeds. Note: If you need more or less sweet, taste and adjust accordingly

Mix it all together and at low to medium heat cook with frequent stirring till the coconut is cooked. Keep stirring till the milk almost dries up and the coconut mix comes out clean from the sides. You will know by the slight change in color and the fact that the mix will no longer stick to the pan. Don't dry it too much, else you cannot make the balls. Note: When you think it is almost done, test it out by trying to make a ball that stays. Approx time to reach this stage - 30-40 mins at medium heat

Take the pan off the heat and cool slightly. When mix is still warm to touch, make balls by rolling between your palms

Store in an air tight container. I usually refrigerate but my Ma used to keep it out.

Similar Reads:

My '07 Pujo Post

More on Pujo and Pujo Shankhya


  1. Sandeepa, Happy Durga pujo!! :) I fondly remember the durga pujo held in my college every year by the bong folks.

  2. Dear Sandeepa...

    I have been a silent admirer of your blog since a long time now... always lurking and never commented :(

    But this post of yours... ah .. it bought back soo many memories, that I cannot express it in words.

    My thakuma used to make 100s of nadus .. oh I miss those days so much.....

    Durga Pujo'er Subhecha
    ~Rupa (Sydney)

  3. Just read Sunita's pooja post and again yours. These memories of childhood never goes from us and there is always some sadness attached when thinking of our children. New dresses are part of festivals for us but not for the kids now. So goes with the sweets and savories made days before the festivals. I am trying much to preserve them as past 2 years myself and siser were making 3-4 sweets amd 2-3 savories for Diwali. Thanks to blogging world to kindle that ineterest. I shallbookmark thse prestine laddoos for Diwali :) thanks Sandeepa and Durga Pooja wishes to u and your family!

  4. sandeepa,
    pujor shubecha ar priti..narkel naru khob bhalo hoyeche...may be baire thakhte-2,ekhon otae tumaar ghor hoye geche ..kinto ekta choto kono mon aaj o deshe pore ache ,tai na?
    hugs and smiles

  5. Happy Durga puja.
    Yeah i too miss the celebration we had when we were kids too.
    I just think they dodn't have the same kind of celebrations we had back then.

  6. Happy Durga Pujo! Sandeepa.
    I know exactly what you mean, it is the pink tinted visions of our childhood during festival times and missing it on our kids' behalf.

    The coconut sweet looks pure and pristine.

  7. Happy Durga Pooja, San! Laddoos look delicious and simple to make too. I'm not much into rituals but now for M, I actually did an elaborate pooja on Gowri-Ganesh festival. She really enjoyed that.

  8. Ki shundor likhecho.. i feel very nostalgic every year; esp. the pujo pujo gondho, shiuli fool gacher nichey bichiye thaka, bhor bela dhaaker awaj.. kothaye jeno hariye gelo;-( we don't do anything here, even with the kids & it is a shame i know.

    very easy naru recipe. ebar amake naru banatei hobe.

  9. A lovely post. I used to love going to puja as a child, but here I feel cut off from the things that made puja something to look forward to all year. Shasthi is my janmatithi (hence the name), so its sad to feel so removed from it. Anyway, thank you for the recipe aar pujor subecha.

  10. My greetings to Durga Pooja! We follow closely all the festivals here but my kid is always interested in halloween, Xmas gifts, etc... If i ask about Diwali, is simply sweet!
    Simple and delicious sweet!

  11. I am so happy you brought some of the festivities of Durga Pujo over! Truly, better to keep tradition with shortcuts than to not! New traditions that build on old ones.

  12. Sandeepa - Tomar ei post ta touched my heart. It is like keo moner kotha ta bolchay. I too do it all here so that my daughter know her bit about my roots.

    Also, thanks for the idea of making a naru.

  13. My mother would make from grated fresh coconut but she did put the condensed milk and omitted the sugar. In the end she would sprinkle some small cardamom seeds and that would go quite well with the coconut.

  14. Arup

    You reminded me, I did put some coarsely grounded cardamom !!!

  15. You have no idea how I've started making things which we can easily get from the market like I'm being inspired to make Narkeler Naaroo this time.Think I'll serve a few on Dashami to the 50+ people we would be calling over.They'll love it! As always,reading your piece is like hearing from a friend.Delo

  16. Sharadiya Abhinandan Sandeepa . Like you I also think of lost pujos . My memories are mixed - the sad one overtakes all the happy ones I have had . But for the last so many years pujo has been good and this year even better.
    As I've said so often there's something about your cooking that reminds me of Ma - and the chyapta naru in the photograph is evocative of the ones she used to make for Dashami.
    love - Mallika

  17. Nice post, Sandeepa! Esp the part where you mentioned how rituals do not have to be so hard.

  18. Desh does have Somoresh Majumdar and Sunil Gangopadhyay (short story) this time.
    Ar Sananda ye jeno dekhlam Nabanita Densen er ekta lekha ... byas. Notunder porte shotti utshaho pai na ... shei class seven theke S Ganguly porchi ... barite Desh regular chilo.
    Eder pore ki hobe tai bhabi Sandeepa.
    Tobe ami chutiye pujo enjoy korchi. Aaj ostomir khuichuri bhog khelam ... tomar mon kharap koranor kono intention nei. :p
    Narugulo darun hoyeche. :-)

  19. Ooops ... meant Nabanita Debsen. :-)

  20. Happy durga puja....u got a lovely blog....

  21. Do u say Happy durga pooja? I am unfamiliar with the terminology to greet u during the puja days!!

    "I sometimes think I have just glamorized the whole thing and put layers of brighter colors over a faded sepia print.""that's exactly how i feel with some of my memories!!

    The new clothes is another thing that the kids take for granted!! there are new clothes thru out the year so no sentiments attached to them anymore!

    i so love this post of ur coz u have spoken exactly what was going thru my mind last week.

  22. Sandeepa tomra amader oujor bhajo basha o shubechha niyo. We will head out soon for ashtami'r pujo.

  23. Ah very well written post. You have summarised the feelings of what we missed there in India and what we have here, so beautifully.

    Happy Durga Pooja to you and your family and beautiful coconut laddos.

  24. Sandeepa,

    Amee o tomar silent admirer. Kono din hi kuchu comment kore ni. But today's post forced me to comment. Amee pujo ta khoob hi miss korchi. Aajke ashtamir pujo te gelam aikhane, shudu ek day to replace the excitement and glamor of pujo of 5 days that we witnessed growing up. Makes me want to run back to India and to those days of childhood.

    Tomake aar tomar porivar ke shubecha pujor.


  25. Glamourising the past! Don't we all do that? There is some charm in that too huh?
    Lovely post Sandeepa.
    Happy durga pooja.

  26. I was almost going to attend durga pujo - the festivities nearest to my place but my daughter decided otherwise! Happy Dussera!

  27. happy durgo pujo :) i see wishes and pictures everywhere. so beautiful..

  28. Durga Pooja wishes to you and your family! Sandy..lovely post!

  29. Shubho Bijoya Sandeepa. Home is where the heart is right? Akta narkel naru pathiye dao please...

  30. Shubho bijoyar shubhechcha janai tomader sabaike. beautiful write-up and pics, as usual....narugulo darun dekhte hoyeche

  31. Your daughters will have their own special memories of Pujo - not the same as yours but special in their own way. That's what you are doing and they will look back with affection and nostalgia.

    I have just discovered the joy of Durga Puja since moving to Delhi (and living a km away from C R Park - that oasis of Bengal in Delhi). My daughter's best friend (and her mom is a close friend too) is Bengali and she loves dressing up and going Pandal hopping with her and enjoying all the mishti.

    I don't worry that she doesn't get to see the "golu" which she used to in Chennai - growing up in Mumbai I didn't either.

    Happy Dasera!


  32. Thanks to All of You who dropped by with your lovely wishes. I am very sorry that I cannot reply individually to you all. Got caught up whole weekend in Puja Mania :-)

  33. Sandeepa,
    Bijayar anek anek suvecha roilo tomai abong tomar paribarer janne.
    Ek saptaho, barite pujor janne ami kato je narkel nadu kheyechi tar kono thik nei, ekhono 1 jar royeche, so looking forward to finish that too :)

  34. Shubho Bijoya to you and your family Sandeepa. Aasha kori pujo bhalo keteche :)

  35. Tomake ar tomar family keo Shubho Bijoyar onek shubheccha ar bhalobasha Sandeepa. Tomar kiddo der jonne roilo onek aashirbad. :-)

  36. Belated festive wishes, Sandeepa.
    Love coconut in sweets. I also took coconut to the party! :)

    I do the same with celebrating festivities with my daughter, but frankly, I don't think we can ever pass on the excitement we grew up with simply because it doesn't exist for them today. :)

  37. Dear Sandeepa,
    Shubho Bijoya. I have been following ur posts for past few months. Being far from home ur posts i really appreciate ur recipes. Thanks for posting narkel nadu recipe, it has always been my favourite sweet and i was planning to make it today(I know it is a bit too late but still...)The way u keep the site updated is commendable I am sure ir requires a lot of hard work. U have inspired me to start a blog of my own. Thanks once again.

  38. Just loved your post. Brought back all those childhood memories of pandal hopping during the pujas. Ma made me a box full of naru this time on my way back from India as I never made them here. But I will definitely try out your narkel naru recipe sometime soon!

  39. Sneher Bonti,

    In our family, what you made, the white version with the "milk" & cardamom was known as ROSHKORA.Sometimes,a hint of edible camphor, if I remember correctly.

    Narkel Nadu was the BROWN version, grated coconut cooked with good quality, fragrant cane jaggery until nice and sticky. No other flavoring,as far as I remember, although the grater varied the texture of the gratings a bit, from coarse to fine, to allow for textural interest.

    What are your experiences?

    A quick & easy way in the US for those who cannot access good jaggery is to use Goya frozen shredded coconut that is widely available and the Grandma Something (forget the name,Moses?) unsulphured molasses that comes in the bottle with a yellow label. Do not use Brer Rabbit Blackstrap or any of the stuff that has a green label on it. Just my taste, YMMMV.

    I find the cane jaggery sold in the US from Indian groceries, even the 11 lb blocks, a far cry from the rich, grainy product of my childhood. We used to make our own, but even the stuff sold in the market, in huge rounds, was simply superb.

    Shubho Bijoya to all. Pray that the 2 little ones grow up to a peaceful world and enjoy many happy Bijoyas among loved ones. I pray that they may know the joy of shefalika blossoms, gathered for anjali for Sandhi Puja. Narayana.

  40. Gautam

    I don't remember "Roshkora", we called them "Chinir naru" and "gurer naru". But the camphor I can smell, hated it absolutely :) Our family didn't use camphor in narus though but many of our extended family and friends did.

    i will look for the Garndma Molasses. My Mother made a part gur-part chinir naru this time with jaggery blocks from Indian store. Since I anyway like "chinir naru" better than "gurer naru", loved these mild gur ones.

    Shubho Bijoya to you and your family too.

  41. HII
    It was my first attempt to make narkel naru myself and giv a surprise ..went through ur recipe and made it was a big hit ....infact the dhania chiken frm ur book was too good ...thanks a ton for the lovely receipes...
    sayahna bhattacharya

  42. recipe ta akhon aar dekhachhe na--ota ki arek bar post kara jay ?

  43. recipe ta akhon aar dekhachhe na, ota ki arek bar post kara jay ?

  44. But where is the recipe ?

  45. SAME QUESTION - Where is the recipe? I know it was there since I used it once to make amazingly good narus.

  46. Hi Bong mom, read the post after a long time!! I didn’t realize much when I read this post may be in 2012…. But now that I have my daughter and I try to pass on the same bangaliana to her, I feel exactly same! I wanted to say this to you that I have been following your blog and now in social media since I started cooking bong foods!! It’s been more than 12 yrs and I loved your posts so much often I share them with my friends. Thank you and wish I could meet you some day! Subho Bijaya!


Thanks for your Comments. I hope you will be nice and not Spam.