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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Sweet Coconut Rice / Narali Bhat / Raksha Bandhan - Narali Poornima Special / Festive Cooking / Traditional Maharashtrian Cuisine

 Raksha Bandhan festival is a day dedicated to express the immaculate love and affection shared between a brother and a sister. In India it is celebrated every year on full moon day of Hindu month of Shravan. Sisters tie a sacred thread called rakhi on their brothers wrist and pray for their long life and well being . Brothers in return promise to protect their sisters from all harms and give them rakhi gifts. This day is also an occasion for family get together and yummy lip smacking delicacies.

This day is also celebrated as Narali Poornima in Maharashtra . After days of heavy rains and strong winds, the sea become calm. On this day the boats are allowed to sail into the sea again. But before doing so , the sea is worshipped by throwing a coconut (Naral) into the water to appease the Sea God. Many traditional sweet dishes are made for this occasion. Mostly the sweets made up of fresh coconut are prepared. I have already shared the Fresh Coconut Fudge / Nariyal Barfi and Suji and Coconut Ladoo recipes on my blog.

Today I am going to share a sweet rice recipe made with fresh coconut and Jaggery. This is a typical Maharashtrian dish and we offer this as Naivedhyam on Narali Pournima . Narali Bhat is an irresistible dish which is a blend of rich flavours of Green Cardamom , Saffron and spices like Clove and Cinnamon. Dry fruits and raisins add to the richness of the dish . The recipe calls for cooking the rice in coconut milk instead of water and sweetened using Jaggery.  This is my Mumma's recipe.

Ingredients: Serves 4
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup freshly scrapped Coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup thin Coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Jaggery / gud
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • Few Saffron strands / Keshar dissolved in 2-3tbsp warm milk
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2-3 small pieces of Cinnamon stick / dalchini
  • 4-5 green Cardamom/ hari elaichi
  • Few Cashew nuts and Raisins
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom and Nutmeg powder
  • Pinch of salt

  1. Soak the Basmati rice for 15 minutes , drain and keep aside. To make Coconut milk at home,  scrape or grate the fresh coconut and grind it in the grinder with very little water. Strain this to get thick Coconut milk. Now again add more water and pulse the same scraped coconut to get thin coconut milk. Add the grated Jaggery to the thick Coconut milk and mix properly. Also in a small bowl add few saffron strands to 2-3 tbsp warm milk.

   2. Heat up 2 tbsp Ghee in a non stick wok on medium heat and add the spices - Green Cardamom, Cinnamon, cloves and dry fruits and fry until fragrant. 

    3.  Add the soaked and drained rice and stir well for 1-2 minutes.

  4.  Now add the thin Coconut milk and pinch of salt to the rice, cover the wok with a lid and cook the rice to 80 %.

  5.  At this stage add the jaggery mixed thick coconut milk and saffron milk to the rice. It is very important to note that if you add the jaggery to the rice before this stage..then the rice will not cook properly. So add the jaggery mixed thick coconut milk to the rice only once it is almost cooked. I came to know this from by previous experience. Once I had mistakenly added the jaggery mixed coconut milk to the rice in the step 4 and then all my efforts to completely cook the rice went in vain.

  6.  The rice may look watery but do not worry, the Jaggery will coat nicely to the rice and all the coconut milk will be soaked up within 2-3 minutes. Now lastly add the scrapped coconut and 1/2 tsp cardamom and nutmeg powder to the rice. Mix well and cook for 1 more minute.

 7.  Serve it either hot or cold and enjoy. The dish acts both as a main course and as a sweet dish. I usually serve it with some spicy and rich gravy dish like Paneer Makhanwala or Kahmiri Dum Aloo and chapati.

Wishing a very Happy Raksha Bandhan and Narali Poornima to all those who celebrate!!

If you are looking for some more traditional and festive Maharashtrian recipes, check out my Anarsa, Shrikhand, Kanole , Narali Pakatle Ladoo , Naralachi barfi


  1. Hi Poonam. Thanks for the recipe. I tried out the recipe step by step as explained and it turned out really well. Thanks for sharing this recipe and waiting to see many more such wonderful recipes.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe.. Glad to know that it turned out well
      Happy Cooking !