Saturday, August 29, 2015

Naarali Bhaat

Narali Pournima, the full moon day is very popular amongst fishermen community as it marks the beginning of the new fishing season. On this day, they worship Sea to please Varun Dev - the God of rains. They offer Coconut to the Sea and also make Coconut delicacies for meal. 

This day is also known as 'Rakshabandhan' where a Sister ties Rakhi (a holy band) on her Brother's wrist and in return her brother takes the vow to protect his sister. On this day, the sisters do aarti (a prayer for the long and happy life of the brother) and receive gifts from their brothers. 

The third thing that is not known to many is the 'Shravani'. Generally in Brahmin community new Janhve (Sacred Thread) is worn after reciting Gayatri Mantra on this day.

Coming to Narali Bhaat, it is a Maharashtrian delicacy. Naral means Coconut and Bhaat means Rice in Marathi language. I have made this recipe using a Pressure Pan method as followed by my Grandmother. Since I dont have Pressure Pan, I have made it in Pressure Cooker. The biggest advantage of this method is that you save time and the grain remains intact. However, if the bottom of Pressure Cooker is not thick, then it may lead to wastage of half an inch of layer at the bottom, which may stick to the bottom. 


Serving:  4 people
Approx. Time:  30-40 minutes 

Ingredients
2-3 tbspns Ghee
3-4 Cloves
1 cup Basmati Rice
1 cup fresh scrapped Coconut
2 cups hot Water 
1 cup grated Jaggery
A pinch of Salt
1/4 tspn Cardamom Powder
8-10 Cashew Nuts
8-10 Raisins

For Garnishing:
Ghee
Almond & Pistachio Flakes
Cashews & Fried Raisins

Method-I (Pressure Cooker Method)

Pre-preparation:
1. Heat a tablespoon of Ghee and fry the Cashew Nuts and Raisins. Set it aside for using it in the main dish.
2. Wash the Rice and drain the entire water contents. Leave it aside for half an hour.

To make Narali Bhaat:
Heat Ghee into a heavy bottomed Pressure Cooker. Add the Cloves and saute it for few seconds. Add the washed Rice, and saute it for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Then add the Scrapped Coconut and again saute it for two minutes. 

Simultaneously, boil 2 and 1/4 cups of water for using it in the recipe. (The water may reduce to some extent after boiling, hence I have taken additional half cup of water. If you are using water at room temperature, take only 2 cups, however adding boiling water to the rice makes it more fluffy) Add the boiling water to the Rice. Then add the grated Jaggery to it and give it a stir. Also add a pinch of Salt at this stage. Finally add the Cardamom Powder, fried Cashew Nuts and Raisins. Cover the Pressure Cooker and cook the rice till 2-3 whistles. 

Once the Rice is cooked, open the lid of Pressure Cooker. Add some ghee from the sides. Once done fluff it with fork. 

Pour Ghee on the Rice, garnish it with dry fruits & nuts and serve hot.


Method-II (Traditional Method)

Pre-preparation:
1. Heat a tablespoon of Ghee and fry the Cashew Nuts and Raisins. Set it aside for using it in the main dish.
2. Wash the Rice and drain the entire water contents. Leave it aside for half an hour.

To make Narali Bhaat:
Heat 2 tbspns Ghee into a heavy bottomed non stick Pan. Add the Cloves and saute it for few seconds. Add the washed Rice, and saute it for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Simultaneously, boil 2 and 1/4 cups of water for using it in the recipe.  Add the boiling water to the Rice. Cover the pan with lid and cook the Rice. Ensure that the Rice is cooked properly because in case the Rice remains semi-cooked, it becomes hard after adding the Jaggery mixture. After the Rice is cooked, transfer it into a plate and spread it evenly for cooling.

In the meantime, mix the Coconut and grated Jaggery. Add the mixture of Coconut and Jaggery to the cooked Rice. You may also mix in Coconut and Jaggery directly in the cooked Rice, but it may lead to breaking of the Rice grain. 

After mixing, heat a heavy bottom non-stick Pan. Add a tabesppon of Ghee to it. Turn the flame to low and add the mixture of Rice, Coconut and  Jaggery to the pan. Also add the Cardamom powder, fried Cashew Nuts, fried Raisins and a pinch of Salt. Cover the pan and cook it for 10 minutes on low flame. Then remove the lid and cook on low flame until the mixture thickens. At the end add some Ghee. 

Pour Ghee on the Rice, garnish it with dry fruits & nuts and serve hot

Notes
1. Alternatively, you may cook the Rice in Coconut Milk. Initially the rice has to be cooked in thin Coconut Milk and thereafter the first pressed Coconut Milk should be added to enhance the flavour. 
2. The Jaggery may be substituted with equal quantiy of Sugar or a balanced mix of Jaggery and Sugar. Also the quantity may be increased or reduced as per your taste.
3. Some people also add yellow food colour to make this dish look more attractive. But since I have used organic Jaggery, the colour of Rice has turned brown. 
5. Nuts of your choice may be added to this recipe. If you want to add Saffron, soak the Strands in milk for some time.
6. Salt is optional. However a pinch of salt in any sweet dish enhances the taste.
7. Rice used should be an old one. Preferably old and scented - Ambemohor or Basmati Rice.

Stepwise Pictures






























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