Monday, August 11, 2014

Kobbari Mithai (Coconut Burfi) - Simple, Succulent and fit for all ocassions

Hope you all had a good weekend, for many of us this past weekend was festive. First came Varalakshmi Vrata (worshiping Goddess Lakshmi) on Friday and then it was Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi (festival to celebrate brother-sister bond) on Sunday. This month infact is full of festivals if you are inclined to celebrate them all. I combine some, move some to the weekend for convenience so all of us are at home but whenever we do celebrate it is a whole hearted affair. Anyways, we did the pooja and then had a great lunch on Saturday. As far as Rakhi goes, DD met her brother a few weeks back when we were in India, bought a Rakhi and instructed him to tie it on himself when it was time to do so(very much like a post dated check), but made sure she got a gift right then and there(nothing post dated about it), she is one smarty pants :-)
I started doing Varalakshmi Vrata after I got married and most years amma has been with me, when she is not here she makes sure to send emails in advance reminding me of the upcoming festival and asks me without fail what I would prepare for naivedya (offering to Goddess). Also, I get told every year that I should make atleast 9 different varieties of dishes :-). Since she wasn't here this year, I asked BH to help me on selecting menu and he promptly rattled off things which were either his favorites or dishes we normally make for festivals. As I vetoed most of them on the very flimsy excuse that it was already on the blog, he gave up and scooted leaving me alone to plan my menu. I use my bus rides to & fro office to plan things which ranges from the day's dinner to DD's activities which is exactly what I did in this case and came up with 9 items, some of which were not on the blog yet :-), problem solved.
Kobbari Mithai is one of nammamma's many signature dishes. By that I just mean that I haven't come across any other that matches the taste and quality. I know most of you will be going at this time, "My mom makes it the best", that is the feeling I have and I am willing to go to the length that all moms make the best food. It is just her attention to detail even in a really simple recipe that made it special. This dessert is just 2 ingredients if you do not count the sprinkle of cardamom and smear of ghee on the plate but she would always make sure only the white part of the coconut was grated to maintain the pristine color of the mithai and the pieces were cut uniformly with precision :-).
I made the kobbari mithai this past weekend and it turned out so perfect that it was almost like nammamma had made it :-), elated over the success, I told her that night as we were chatting and here is how the conversation went..
Amma: "Did you use fresh coconut?"
Me: "yes, amma, I broke a coconut, grated it myself and used it".
Amma:  "Did you remove all the brown parts?"
Me: "Yes, I didn't even get to the brown part while grating the coconut", she does a happy grunt (that was a trick question and I know my amma can be sneaky like that)
Amma:"You didn't use the dry coconut, right?"
Me: "no, I even gave the coconut water to your grand daughter to drink, it wasn't dry coconut"
Amma: "Yes, that is how it should be done for best taste though it takes less time if you make it with dry coconut"
Me: "I made it fresh and it took me 20 minutes to finish"
Amma (with total disbelief): "What? 20 minutes?"
Me(showing off): "Yes, I made a small quantity and was done in 20 minutes. Not like you, breaking 10 coconuts at a time" :-)"
Amma (very thoughtful): "hmm, your generation is like that, everything gets done quickly" :-)

I don't think she really believed me on that 20 minutes since she has never made such small quantities in life and doesn't understand them.

So even though it is called Kobbari (refers to the dry coconut in Kannada) mithai, it is usually done with fresh coconut, keep that in mind. And nammamma never added milk or water and the burfis stayed fresh longer. When made correctly, these are juicy yet dry to touch, succulent but not syrupy and have a wonderful taste of coconut and sugar. Give it a try and check it out yourselves, the only problem I had with the color of the mithai was that I ended up with not so good pictures :-(

I have a traditional savory item coming up next. It is very popular but I am making it in a short cut way(no store bought help). It is there in the picture, see if you can spot it and let me know.
What do you need to make Kobbari Mithai? 
Makes about 16 1X1X1 inch pieces
2 cups lightly packed grated coconut (fresh is preferred, use frozen as a second option)
1.5 cup sugar
1/4 Tsp freshly powdered cardamom
1/2 Tsp ghee to spread on the plate
How do you make Kobbari Mithai? 
  • If you are using a fresh coconut, scrape/grate it to get the white portions of the meat only, once you start to see the brown shell from inside, stop scraping. 
  • Measure two cups of coconut into a thick bottomed kadai or vessel. 
  • Add 1.5 cups of sugar and mix the two together.
  • Switch on the stove at medium heat. 
  • Keep stirring frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom of the vessel. 
  • Within 5 minutes, sugar melts and the mixture becomes liquidy. 
  • Continue to stir, scraping any that sticks to the walls of the vessel and bring them together. 
  • Within 20 minutes (for the given quantity), the water evaporates and becomes a single mass. 
  • Prepare a plate by smearing ghee on it. 
  • Pour the coconut+sugar mixture onto the plate and immediately flatten it to the desired thickness using a flat spatula.
  • Sprinkle cardamom powder on top and press it down lightly. 
  • Let cool for a minute and make marks with a sharp knife to desired shape and size - do not go all the way to the bottom of the plate but leave just a tad bit shy of it. 
  • Once it cools down completely, you can break the pieces with the knife or just with your hands cutting them apart at the markings.  
  • If you are using frozen coconut, defrost and bring it to room temperature. 
  • Sugar I get here is fine in texture which helps in speeding up the process, if you are using sugar (the ones you get in India are coarser), you can run it in the blender to powder and then use it in the recipe. 
  • You can double, triple this quantity to make more, be prepared to also increase the time you spend at the stove. 


Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Whatever mothers make a surely the best..there r few dishes in which I am never able to bring my mothers taste even though I follow the recipe given by her :)
The coconut burfi looks very yum

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Whatever mothers make a surely the best..there r few dishes in which I am never able to bring my mothers taste even though I follow the recipe given by her :)
The coconut burfi looks very yum

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

Yummy burfi... Nice pooja decorations...

Priya Suresh said...

Wow wat a spread they, absolutely am yet to make few dishes as much as delicious as like my mom..Very addictive burfis, i can happily have some.

sashi said...

My grandmother used to add color(yellow) to the mixture (I guess a clever way to disguise the brown part) and slightly grind the coconut to make sure the kids don't choke. The sweets would be locked up in Ugrana(pantry)and she would have the keys hung around her neck. As kids we would anxiously wait in Angala(courtyard) for the sweets to be distributed. I guess the wait added that extra bit of sweetness to the mittai.
Thanks for the trip down the memory lane.