Shuchi Mittal tries to recreate the loving recipe her mother used to make her.
By Shuchi Mittal
I love the taste of coconut. I like it in desserts. I like it in curries. I even like it in my coffee.
When I was younger, my mother used to make these delightful coconut sweetmeats with oodles of chocolate in them. She used to pack them up neatly and bring them along when she used to visit my boarding school in the hills of North India. Outside food was forbidden in school, so imagine the treat we used to have when she used to brilliantly smuggle them into the premises – sometimes hidden in her shawl and at other times in a box straight under the teacher’s nose! How she did it, only she would know, but each time we enjoyed them with utmost gratification.
My mother is now no more. And with her has gone the secret recipe. Now and then I try to re-create what I believe could be the recipe for those scrumptious ladoos (sweet balls in Hindi). These didn’t taste much like hers (partly because I skipped the chocolate), but were quite simple and tasty nonetheless, so I decided to post the recipe anyway.
I will keep trying till I get it right. Maybe the missing ingredient is her love.
- ¾ cup grated coconut (fresh or packed)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ½ lt whole milk
- Cook the coconut in a non-stick pan till on medium flame its brown and lightly toasted (approx 3-5 minutes). Remove and cool.
- Heat oil in a non-stick saucepan. Add the sugar and let it melt.
- Add the coconut and mix well. Saute this till the sugar and coconut are pasty.
- Add the milk, reduce flame to medium-low and let it cook with occasional stirring.
- Continue to cook till all the liquid has evaporated (approx 20-25 minutes).
- Once sticky and dry, turn flame to medium and sauté continuously till oil begins to separate from the mixture. Remove from heat and cool.
- Spoon a mixture in your palm and fold into balls.
Shuchi cooks with the heart of a poet. Banker turned chef, she runs the 29. Private Kitchen in NYC focusing on social tasting events, dining experiences and small-scale private events. Using simple & wholesome ingredients, she likes to re-invent homemade Indian flavors into modern tapas & small plates. Her dream? To cook, feed, write, and eventually open her own communal dining cafe - with a published recipe book on the stands.