Gouri festival is celebrated as Vayna Puja by some married women [savashini] of GSB community, a day before Ganesh Chaturthi [Chavati]. This puja is done to invoke Goddess Gauri, also known as Parvati- mother of Lord Ganesh and seek her blessings. Vayna [Coconut called as Naarlu in Konkani] is symbolic of this festival. This puja is inherited by some families which means they practice this as a tradition and perform it. At the end of this, worshipped coconuts with diya are distributed to the married women/ relatives and friends who attend and participate in this puja. Details of the this festival can be read here.
Few GSB families don't have this as a tradition and hence do not perform this puja. They are invited to the houses where it is performed and married women are offered the vayna with diya [as a blessing]. [My family from mother's side as well as husband's side fall under this category]. After the puja, coconuts get accumulated in the house and it is said that these coconuts should be used only to prepare some sweets or any other recipe with no use of onion and garlic. After using them in no onion garlic recipes the best way to finish this fresh coconuts would be to make delicious soyi khadi, atleast that's what my grandmom, mom and aunties did, and the coconuts would disappear from the house.
I received vayna narlu this year too and while deciding on what to prepare from it I came across khobri mithai recipe by Asha mayi. She is a culinary expert and has authored a cookbook on Konkani cuisine named "The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook". This recipe came just in time. Myself, hubby and kids relished eating these burfis. I found that the use of cashews in her recipe adds richness and makes the burfis tasty. Lets go to her recipe.
2 cups fresh grated coconut [make sure it is grated fine, if not then you can blend with milk.]
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cashewnuts [optional]
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Little ghee for greasing
Grind cashewnuts with little milk into paste. Mix all the ingredients that is coconut, remaining milk, sugar and cashewnut paste in a deep heavy bottomed vessel. Keep stirring it at regular intervals and cook it over low flame. Once the moisture from the mixture dries up, add cardamom powder. Mix it well and switch off the flame as the sticky mixture leaves the sides of the vessel.
Grease a plate with ghee, pour the mixture into it and spread it evenly with back of spoon or rolling pin. Cut them into desired shapes when its little warm. Cool down completely before you store them in an airtight container.
Notes: Make sure you use white gratings only, so don't scrap the brown part of the coconut. You can blend the coconut to fine paste if you prefer your burfi to be of fine texture.
Enjoy this yummy treat!
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"Lets cook with coconut"