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Nolen Gurer Narkeler Naru (Bengali-Style Coconut Balls with Date Palm Jaggery)

[The basic requirement to make delicious Narus is to choose the right kind of coconut: the ones which are not too old and dry. My Narkeler Narus are a bit different than the traditional ones. I added a small amount of oats (no, not for health reasons, but for getting a few extra Narus!) and some sea salt to balance out the sweetness! Have you ever tried adding a bit of sea salt in your Narkeler Naru? Try it this time. This recipe makes around 35 Narus.]

Ingredients

  • Grated coconut don’t use the black, hard skin: 800 g
  • Nolen Gur: 300 g
  • Quaker Oats optional: 100 g
  • Freshly ground green cardamom powder: ½ tsp
  • Boiled and cooled milk: 3 tbsp
  • Sea salt optional: ¼ tsp (or a bit more, if preferred)

Instructions

  • In a Kadhai, dry-roast the coconut continuously for around 10 min on a medium flame.
  • Add the molten Nolen Gur. The jaggery can be melted by microwaving it for 1–2 min.
  • Cook this for around 10 min. Add the oats and sauté until the mixture leaves the sides of the kadhai and is dry enough to handle.
  • Add the cardamom powder, milk and the sea salt and switch off the flame. Mix well. Mix again after 5 min.
  • Transfer the Naru mixture to a thala (big plate) and let it cool down slightly.
  • While the mixture is still warm, grease your palms a bit with ghee, ensuring that you don’t over-grease. Take small amounts of the mixture and with the help of two palms, roll into ping-pong-sized balls.
  • Don’t worry if the Narus look a bit wet and feel soft. These will harden soon.
  • If the first few Narus come out to be crumbly and dry, add an extra 1 tbsp milk to the warm mixture and mix well. Now make the Narus again. The Narus bind very well with a hint of milk. Don’t add the extra tablespoon of milk if the mixture is already wet enough.
  • Let the Narus dry out at room temperature: around 30 min.
  • Pack the Narus in an airtight container. It is best to keep these refrigerated to enjoy them for a much longer time. If you wish to consume these within a few days, then no need to refrigerate.