Saturday, August 30, 2014

Naralachi Vadi for Baal Ganesh

My most favorite time of the year is here - Ganpati Bappa arrived in our house yesterday on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, and will stay with us the next 4 days. Oh, so much joy and good eats this festival brings!

I celebrate Ganesh chaturthi with much enthusiasm and glee, while trying to stay as eco-friendly as possible. See this hand-made clay idol and decor with used cardboard boxes from last year? The celebration this year is low-key, as I hardly have time to do anything with a baby and work. But my baby's first big festival needed something to make it memorable. Keeping the tradition, I made the idol at home. As a quick and simple alternative to clay, I thought of using play dough - the perfect medium to make idol for my baby's first Ganpati! Thanks to Pinterest, I knew I could make play dough at home. I used the no-cook play dough recipe on this site, with only half the measurements. I skipped cream of tartar (used for elasticity) and glycerin (used for shine). The preparation of making the dough with all purpose flour, salt, oil, and water took  10 mins all together. The key to getting good play dough is kneading it really well. Making the idol was equally quick as I skipped adding too many details. Our Bappa looks like Baal Ganesha (Baby Ganesha), and I was quite happy with it.

Husband asked for Modak for Naivedya. But it was too elaborate a process. I went for simple Naralachi Vadi (Coconut Barfi) instead, using one of the main ingredients from Modak. I was never a big fan of Naralachi Vadi until I tried it at one of my dad's friends' place. His wife had made the best vadi I had tried, and her secret ingredient was - potato! Who would've though?! Mashed potato gave the vadi a nice bite and chewiness. I don't like too hard, sugary and crumbly vadi, and potato added just the right texture to it. When I told the husband I was adding potato to the vadi, he thought I was joking! But he ended up loving the product, and I think Ganpati Bappa liked it too :).

Olya Naralachi Vadi/ Coconut Barfi

1 Packed cup fresh/frozen grated coconut
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup milk
1 Small potato (~ golf ball sized) - boiled and mashed
1/2 Teaspoon cardamom powder
1 Tablespoon ghee
Dry fruits for decoration - I used Charoli. Almonds or cashews would be great.

  • Heat a pan on low flame, add ghee and grated coconut and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add sugar, milk, and mashed potato. Cook this mixture while stirring every so often. Make sure you take out all the lumps from the potato so that it's smooth. 
  • Cook the mixture down until all the sugar has dissolved and the moisture has evaporated. It should stop sticking to the pan and come together in a ball. 
  • Add cardamom powder and mix well. 
  • Grease a flat surface (plate/tray etc.) and spread the coconut mixture with a spatula into a 1/4'' cake. Sprinkle chopped dry fruits and pat gently on the cake. 
  • Once cooled slightly, cut the cake into desired sized diamonds. Let them cool completely before separating the barfi. 
Hope those of you who celebrate this festival are having a wonderful, modak-filled, celebration!

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