Naralachi Vadi Recipe
Coconuts are widely used in Indian cuisine, especially in South Indian and the coastal states where they grow in great abundance. Technically, coconuts are not real botanical nuts but are actually fruit. Once thought to be high in cholesterol & saturated fats, the scientific community has recently retracted this absurd notion and is now in total agreement that the health benefits of coconut are quite numerous. A diet rich in coconuts is helpful in the fight against high cholesterol, heart disease & certain types of cancer. Coconuts are always a good source of antioxidants, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and B-complex vitamins. Coconuts are also thought to be very good for digestion & aid in natural weight loss by increasing one’s metabolism.
NARALACHI VADI (Coconut Burfi or Indian Coconut Fudge)
2 cups grated coconut (you can use desiccated, just make sure it is unsweetened)
½ cup sugar (you can use Splenda or sweetner), to taste
1, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
pinch of cardamom powder
2 tbsp toasted coconut flakes (or coarsely ground pistachio pieces) for garnish
In a small dry skillet on very low heat, lightly toast 2 tbsp of coconut flakes until golden brown. Remove from the skillet immediately and set aside until needed. This will be used for the garnish.
Since the condensed milk is already sweetened, you may not need to use any sugar. This is a personal preference depending on your level of desired sweetness.
In a saucepan on medium low heat, add the condensed milk and the sugar. Stir well and allow the sugar to dissolve. Add the coconut, stir well to combine and let cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the coconut starts clumping together. Keep stirring continuously so the mixture does not burn. Add the cardamom powder, remove from the heat and allow to cool just slightly.
Spread evenly on a lightly greased (butter or cooking spray) baking sheet or tray. The thickness should be at least ¼ inch but no more than ½ inch thick. This is easy to do while the mixture is still warm. Decorate with the toasted coconut flakes or coarsely ground pistachio pieces and allow to cool. Cut into diamond shape pieces and refrigerate in an airtight container.
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