Pournima is the full moon night. Narali Pournima, Shravani Pournima, Rakhi Pournima or Raksha Bandhan are the different names for one festival to mark the end of monsoons in Maharashtra. Offering Naral (coconut) to the sea is mostly prevalent in the coastal regions of the State.
For the fishermen, it is the beginning of their new fishing season. The fishermen do this to appease the Sea-God before they sail out into the expanse of the sea. The celebration is never complete without the sweet-coconut rice and the merriment of dancing and singing!
My mum never made this bhaat(rice), she made sakhar bhaat quite often. I plan to post this as well some day. I enjoyed this rice when I stayed at my mavshi’s(maternal aunt) place in Pune. I loved staying at her place, cause I got to eat so many delicious preparations from her kitchen. My mavshi then followed Ruchira everyday!! Loads of memories are associated about my stay at her place. When I moved over to my hostel, to study Pharmacy, I made it a point to visit her on Thursdays to eat her sabudanyachi khichadi!! And this is where I met my future husband, R. He too had come to stay at his mama’s (maternal uncle) place(My mavshi is married to his mama)!! Before I flow into the sea of memories let us get back to our Narali Bhaat 🙂
This preparation is quite simple and can be done very quickly if you have ready grated coconut and loose jaggery. Ghee is the vital ingredient here. Obviously it does bring up the flavours. When I made this bhaat, I had halved the quantities. You may avoid using ghee in that quantity. Pour in a couple of tablespoons before steaming the whole preparation. This rice is served as the main dish on the festival. However you may prepare it as a dessert.
Narali Bhaat requires
4 cups old rice
1 grated fresh coconut
6 cups jaggery
1 cup ghee
Blanched almonds and or raisins
1.Wash and drain the rice. Keep aside for about an hour.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a pan and add the cloves to it. Add the washed and drained rice to this . Roast the rice in the ghee for a couple of minutes, till all the grains get coated with ghee.
3. Add in twice the measure of warm water to the rice and cook the rice. The rice needs to nice and fluffy….each grain needs to stand out.
4. In a thick bottom pan, cook the grated coconut and the jaggery together. All the jaggery melts and softens the coconut slightly.
5. Add the cooked rice this and fold into the coconut-jaggery mix. To this add in the cardamom, blanched almonds and raisins.
6. Add in the rest of the ghee and fold again taking care not to mush the rice. Cover and let it steam once.
KO also gives a tip:
If you can manage adding coconut milk, the flavours will enhance doubly!! If you plan to do so , you will need to add 2 cups of coconut milk and 1 cup of water to the rice in order to cook it.
Serve it warm or cold.