Now it's time for something sweeter on this A - Z rice series and here is Narali bhaat. Narali bhaat is a sweetened coconut rice from the state of Maharashtra that is typically prepared on a Narali Pournima day. It happens to be the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Shravan (usually August), that also coincides with the Rakhi Pournima / Raksha bandhan day. This yummy dish is traditionally prepared using rice, coconut and a lighter colored jaggery though sugar can be substituted in the absence of the latter. It should be prepared in a such way that each grain stands apart instead of cooking into a mush like the typical rice puddings. The texture reminded me of this dry pongal my mother prepares which happens to be one of my favorite dishes and this one too was equally delicious.
1/2 cup long grain rice (I used sona masuri.)
1/2 cup shredded fresh / frozen coconut
6 tbsp. powdered jaggery (Increase the quantity if jaggery is not sweeter.)
1/2 tsp. saffron strands + 1 tbsp. warm milk
2 tbsp. ghee
2 tbsp. dry fruits & nuts (cashews, raisins and almonds)
3 - 4 cloves
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1 cup water
* Wash the rice in two exchanges of water, drain and keep it aside for about 30 to 40 minutes.
* Soak saffron in a tbsp. warm milk or warm water for about 5 minutes.
* Toast nuts and raisins in a pan using a tbsp. of ghee until the nuts turn golden brown and the raisins puff up. Transfer them into a small bowl. Add the remaining ghee to the same pan and toast the cloves until they puff up. Add rice next and saute so that the grains are well coated with the ghee. Next pour in the water to the pan.
* At this point, the mixture can be transferred to a pressure cooker for faster and hassle-free cooking or can be continued to cook in the pan.
If using a pressure cooker, cook the mixture for 3 whistles and turn off the stove. If using the pan, bring the water to a rolling boil and then lower the heat. Cover and cook until the rice is done and all the water is absorbed.
* Meanwhile, heat coconut, jaggery and cardamom in another pan and cook until the jaggery melts. Add the coconut - jaggery mixture and the saffron milk to the above cooked rice and mix gently to combine, not breaking the rice grains. Cook the mixture again, covered for another 4 to 5 minutes.
* Garnish with the toasted dry fruits and nuts and serve it warm.
Recipes so far in A - Z Rice Dishes,
A for Achaari Chole Pulao
B for Bhuna Khichuri
C for Chintapandu Pulihora
D for Dindigul Thalapakatti Veg Biryani
E for Ellorai / Ellotharai
F for Fodnicha Bhaat
G for Gongura Pulihora
H for Hare Moong ki Chaaswaali Khichdi
I for Iyengar Style Kadambam
J for Jodhpuri Vegetable Pulao
K for Kaju - Karivepaku Annam
L for Lilva Khichdi
M for Mamidikaaya - Kobbari Pulihora
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