Tag Archives: coconut and sugar

Thengai Burfi/Coconut Burfi

With Diwali around the corner, it is certainly time for some sweets and snacks suitable for the festive occasion.
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Thengai Burfi is one my childhood favorites. Coconut based burfi or urundai/laddu can be made in different styles – with milk and sugar, with sugary condensed milk, with milk powder and sugar, with sugar syrup without milk… thengai burfi (square shaped sweet) or thengai urundai (coconut balls) is something the tongue and teeth wouldn’t forget for long – Tongue for the taste of it and Teeth for the extras that always cling on to it. The Chewy, Juicy, Sugary, Coconut Milky flavor of the sweet takes me to a special day called MISSION SUNDAY.
My early years of schooling in an Anglo Indian School introduced me to a bit of Christianity and to the Sisters of the Missionaries. MISSION SUNDAY used to be a fun filled day of events, something equivalent to Carnivals in European Schools. A day of food, games and fun activities – all done by combined efforts of Teachers, Parents and Children. Nothing to do with religion, it was a Sunday devoted to opening stalls, selling your home products- especially food cooked by mothers/grandmothers, earn money and donate it to school. I remember Amma used to make Thengai Burfi in different colors – Pink,, Red and Yellow and Amma and me used to be a team selling thengai burfi. As Stallmates, we used to earn a bit… that was a very happy feeling of being a junior entrepreneur at an early age. So that’s the juicy story of Thengai Burfi.
My cousin ‘S’ would remember more as we went to the same school and what more we did in our stall together for Mission Sunday is something to discuss about. My memories are somehow stuck up with Coconut Burfi.
This version of Thengai Burfi is with the basic ingredients – coconut and sugar. There is no milk and no food color in the recipe. As I had saffron, I chose to bring in the exotic flavor of saffron and its beautiful mild yellow color to the burfi. Also added is cardamom to complete the combined flavor of the sweet.
Thengai Burfi/Coconut Burfi

 

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Ingredients (makes 20-24 pieces)

  • thuruviya thengai/grated coconut – 2 cups
  • sarkkarai/sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • water – enough to soak sugar – appr. 1/2 cup
  • elakkai/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • kungumapoo/saffron – a few strings
  • nei/clarified butter – to grease the tray

 

grated coconut and cardamom

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saffron and sugar-water

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Method of Preparation

  1. Grate coconut, without the brown layer close to the shell. We need the white meat alone
  2. Grease a tray with enough nei/clarified butter
  3. Place pan (preferably non-stick) on stove and heat sugar and water with saffron strands and cardamom powder
  4. When water comes to a boil add grated coconut and stir well
  5. Keep stirring till the mixture starts to thicken and foams up in the pan. It would not take much time
  6. The sweet is almost ready and once it starts to leave the pan, spread in the already greased tray/bowl
  7. When it is a little warm, mark the spread sweet into desired shapes and remove only when completely cool
  8. Juicy Coconut Burfi is ready.

 

 

Notes:

  1. Grating only the white meat of coconut is important for the beautiful white colour. A substitute option to easy traditional grating is to take coconut completely out of the shell, remove the brown outer layer and then cut into small pieces. Then, grate in a mixer-grinder. (see picture above)
  2. Saffron is optional. The aroma and subtle yellow color are the true benefits of saffron. Those who prefer the original white color of coconut shall avoid saffron.
  3. Sugar can be altered as per taste preference. More the sugar, finer the structure of pieces. I have stuck to medium sugar.

Rectifying problems in consistency:

  •  if you find the consistency of burfi too thin and hence not ready to form stiff pieces, keep the mixture back in pan and stir for some more time
  •  if the mixture seems too thick to spread or turns into granules, put it back in the pan, add little water and stir till it softens and remove at the right consistency

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Sweet and Special Somasi!

 

 

Somasi is certainly a special traditional sweet – Why special? Because it is also international in the making process. These may very easily be mistaken for puff pastries – deep-fried but just a little different in shape. Whenever I try baking ‘dutch apple flappen’ with pastry sheets – I am reminded of somasis. The filling, (of course with different ingredients) – which goes into all-purpose flour rotis instead of the pastry sheet, sealed – then deep-fried for somasis and baked for apple flappen!

Somasi is usually cut with a special somasi cutter. At present, I do not possess one… It is a spoon with a wheel like cutter at the other end – somewhat like a pizza cutter with a spoon at the handle position –  (another proof of its international appeal!) I used a knife to cut the extra dough and my daughter helped in making the edges intact with a fork. By the time I made nearly 20 somasis, I felt quite tired.. Might be because this was the first time I made it all by myself! I know the next time it is going to be easier.. After completion, it seemed to resemble another all time favourite ‘f’rench pastry – the croissant’ (especially in the photo down below)!

I once again remembered and missed the joy of making sweets and savouries together with two generation of experienced hands as a kid. One to roll the dough and keep the filling, we the kids to cut it to proper shape and the other elder member to deep fry in oil – with filter coffee by our sides to keep the energy intact… But thambi (brother) would only need those somasis or already made murkkus to keep up his energy!

Somasis

Ingredients (makes approximately 15-18 somasis)

  • freshly grated coconut/desiccated coconut – 1/2 cup
  • ghee – 2 tsp to roast coconut
  • pottukadalai/roasted split chick peas – 1/2 cup
  • white sesame seeds – 3 tsp
  •  sugar – 1/2 cup
  • cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
  • all-purpose flour – 2 cups
  • salt – a pinch
  • water – just enough to make a dough
  • oil – for deep-frying

 Method of Preparation

The filling

  1. Roast grated coconut with 2 tsp ghee. I used the desiccated coconut from the super market – the dryness in it helped roasting easier and quicker
  2. Dry roast sesame seeds till golden brown
  3. Powder pottukadalai and sugar separately
  4. Mix roasted coconut, powdered pottukadalai, roasted sesame seeds cardamom powder and sugar and keep aside

The dough

Mix all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt with enough water to make a smooth dough to be rolled into rotis

Making somasis

1. Make small balls out of the dough and roll them to round medium shaped rotis or puris

2. Keep 1 tbsp of the filling on the rolled rotis

3. Fold the roti into a semi-circle

4. Cut the folded semi-circle clean in the edges, with a knife or a pizza cutter or with a somasi cutter if one has it

5. Mix the removed excess dough with the basic dough

6. If cut with a knife or pizza cutter, seal the edges with a fork

7. If done with a somasi cutter, the cutter would take care of the edge design

8. Heat oil in a chatti/kadai

9. Gently drop the raw somasis into oil

10. Fry till golden brown and take them out in a kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil

11. Let them cool and store in an air-tight container.

 

Note:

  1. Sugar can be increased if needed
  2. If there is left-over filling, it can be stored and used within a week to make somasis again or any other sweet.