Narali Bhat is the customary preparation prepared on the occasion of Narali Poornima in the western coastal belt of India in Maharashtra. Made with freshly grounded Coconuts that are sweetened with Jaggery and cooked with aromatic and flavorful rice, this preparation is simple and yet exquisite.
Narali Poornima is also known as Shravani Poornima which highlights the day of Full Moon falling in the month of Shravan as per Hindu Calendar (July-August as per Gregorian Calendar). Shravan is one of the most pious months of the year marked with fasting and festivals, two of the most important aspects of Hindu culture. Shravani Poornima is celebrated in different parts of country by various names and Narali Poornima is one of the festivals celebrated in Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa, most prominently by the fishermen community in these states-Koli community.
Narali Poornima has a great significance for fishermen community. Few weeks leading to this day the community abstains from fishing activity. They stop wading into sea during monsoons owing to two primary reasons-one, the sea acts far more turbulent during monsoons and fishing can be dangerous in such conditions and secondly, marine life breeds during these months. Maintaining marine ecological balance by abstaining from fishing for two months is that part of conventional wisdom that Koli community has adhered to for ages now.
Narali Poornima marks the end of this abstinence period and beginning of a fresh fishing season. This day is celebrated by Koli community with great joy, excitement and great hopes. As part of these celebrations, Kolis decorate their boats, get dressed in colorful attire and set sail- the first of the season. A short trip later, they come back on shores and celebrate the remainder of the day dancing, singing and feasting.
A Hallmark of these celebrations is their offering of Coconut to Sea. Kolis believe Lord Varun would guard them when they go fishing in the seas and so to appease Lord Varun they offer Coconuts-one of the most auspicious fruits in Hindu traditions and pray for sea to remain calm and their trips to fetch them bountiful of returns.
The Koli feast is incomplete on this day without Narali Bhat- a delicious sweet preparation made with freshly grounded Coconuts that are sweetened with Jaggery and cooked with aromatic and flavorful rice, this preparation is simple and yet exquisite
Let’s join in the celebration of Narali Purnima this season and enjoy the day with some authentic, traditional recipe-Narali Bhat
- ½ Cup=125 gms Rice-we have used aromatic Ambe Mohar Rice. You can even use Basmati rice
- ½ Cup=100 gms Jaggery-finely chopped
- ½ Cup=100 gms grated fresh Coconut
- ½ Cup=125 ml thick Coconut Milk
- ½ Cup=125 ml Water
- Ghee as required
- 1 tbsp Almonds
- 1 tbsp Cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp Raisins
- 3 Green Cardamom
- 3 Cloves
- ¼ th tsp Salt
- Soak rice for 30 mins in water. Meanwhile, we will chop dry nuts and raisins
- We will chop Almonds first-into lengths. Similarly, roughly chop Cashewnuts. Roughly chop Raisins. Dry nuts and raisins are now ready. Let's start cooking
- Heat 1 tbsp Ghee in a Pan. Add dry nuts and raisins and fry for a min. After a min, raisins have puffed up and nuts have become slightly brown. Remove from Pan
- In the same pan, we will cook rice. Add 1 tbsp Ghee and let it melt. Add Cloves and Green Cardamom and fry for a min. When Cloves and Green Cardamom puff up, add soaked rice
- Fry rice in Ghee for a 1-2 mins on low heat. After 2 mins, add ½ Cup water. Add Salt and mix well. Now, add ½ Cup Coconut Milk. We have used ½ Cup Water+1/2 Cup Coconut Milk. If you want to skip Coconut Milk, then replace it with ½ Cup water. So, total 1 Cup water will be required. Allow it to boil on medium heat. Now, add Saffron thread (completely optional). Stir well
- Reduce heat. Cover and cook on low heat.
- Meanwhile, we will make a Coconut Jaggery mixture. In a large bowl, add grated fresh Coconut and finely chopped Jaggery. Add fried dry nuts and raisins. Mix well. Chop Jaggery finely as it will ensure that Jaggery melts quickly while getting cooked.
- Mixture is now ready. We have cooked rice covered on low heat for 5-6 mins. Rice is now well cooked. Remove from heat and spread it in a large plate.
- We will use same Pan for making Narali Bhat. Pan has lots of flavor so do not wash it off. In the Pan, add 1 tbsp Ghee. Add Coconut mixture at the bottom and evenly layer at the bottom of pan.
- Now, add cooked rice and evenly spread it into another layer. Reduce heat. Cover and cook on low heat.
- Let's uncover after 2 mins of cooking on low heat. Jaggery has now melted. Ensure we cook on low heat. Cooking rice in Jaggery syrup for long can make rice tough to eat. Always, cover and cook Narali Bhat so that is stays soft and moist.
- Add some Ghee. Cover and cook on low heat. We have steam-cooked Narali Bhat for another 2 mins on low heat
- As you can see friends, jaggery and rice have blended nicely. Remove from heat and keep it covered until serving
Click to watch recipe video