A hard nut to crack!
When one thinks of coconut, the first thing that comes to the mind is the cool healthy coconut water. However, there is more to a coconut than just the water or the succulent flesh. Coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut oil, grated coconut, coconut flour, are all used in cooking in many countries. Right from sweet to savoury dishes, coconut is used to add flavour, creaminess and a bite to any dish. Curries, desserts, cookies, cakes, salads, drinks etc, name it and coconut is used. Coconut milk is used in place of dairy produced milk by vegans. Coconut water is rich in potassium and is considered a natural hydrator. Coconut flour is made from the flesh of the coconut. It can be replaced partially in baked goods to reduce the glycemic index. Coconut oil is used for cooking, for treating certain skin disorders, for preparing beauty products and for luscious hair. The shell is used to make decorative pieces, used as dishes and bowls and to burn as wood for cooking.Some countries use it for steaming fish and vegetables. The dry husk is used as a natural scrubber to clean utensils,to stuff mattresses, weaved into rope and burnt to ward off mosquitoes. The dried leaves are commonly used to thatch roofs, make walls along with mud and make brooms.The tree trunk is used to make boats and furniture.
I love using coconut in my cooking right from curries to cakes.I use it for oiling my hair and love to drink coconut water. So its not surprising that one of my favourite sweets is copra pak or coconut barfi. I made some for Navratri. This recipe takes longer than the one using condensed milk but it is so much more tastier.
COPRA PAK /COCONUT BARFI (using mawa)
makes about 9 pieces
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1 cup full fat milk
1 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cardamom powder (elachi)
5-6 saffron strands
½ cup grated mawa (solidified milk), lightly packed
1 tbsp chopped pistachios.
- Take 2 tablespoons of milk from the measured milk and put it in a small container.
- Heat the milk till its warm. Add the saffron strands to it and leave it on the side till required.
- Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the coconut and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add milk and cook the mixture till it becomes thick. Stir frequently so that the coconut does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add sugar and stir. Reduce the heat and let the mixture cook till it becomes thick. Remember to stir it.
- Add the grated mawa and stir till it becomes thick. Add the saffron milk and mix well.
- The mixture should come together and all the liquid should be burnt.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well.
- Grease a small tray lightly with ghee.
- Pour the mixture into the tray. Press it together to the thickness you like and level it out using a spatula or a small glass or steel bowl.
- Sprinkle the pistachios over it and press it into the barfi gently.
- Let the barfi set overnight. Cut into squares and serve.
- You can make small balls if you like.
- Avoid grating the brown part of the coconut.
- Make sure the mixture becomes dry otherwise the barfi will not set.
- You can make white coconut barfi by omitting saffron.
- I put the tray in the fridge overnight for the barfi to set as it is quite hot in Mombasa.