Janmasthami special - Kalakand style Coconut Barfi

The beauty of Hindu customs are even manifested in the idol we choose to worship. Yes just like the way we want to lead our lives, we get to choose from thousands of manifestations (avataar) of the supreme being. But like all walks of life, here too lies favourtism and few Gods are more popular than the others. And now without hurting anyone's sentiment, would like to add that Lord Ganesha, Shiva, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga and Krishna amongst many others, occupy that special place, in the hearts of millions of Indians. 

So soon after I wrote about the beginiing of the festival season in India, here I'm writing and sharing about one such great festival, being celebrated across the world - Janmsathami. Janmasthami marks the birth of a much loved Lord Krishna, who was as known for his wit as for his romantic charm. Wishing you all a very Happy Janmasthami and also sharing with you my offering to the God.

Though coming from a Brahman family, yet I have never been much of an idol worshipper. For me all gods were same and all traditions to be respected but not to get restricted by that. But when I got married into a pious family from the holy lands of Mathura, Lord Krishna's birthplace, I came to see passion for worship. Yes passion, because I could see sheer joy and contentment in the faces of my mom-in-law or grandmother-in-law while worshipping. Something which comes from deep within. Like a connection to God. And that's not just idol worship. It's more about the feeling, a feeling that I was immune to. But two years back, I was lucky to see this state of trance for myself.

My parents -in-law took me to "Vrindavan", where Lord Krishna had spent his childhood and there we went to the famous "Banke Bihari" temple. This temple had an infectious energy. Thousands of devotees were all bound by the love for the divine. A continuos chanting of  "Radhe Krishna" was elevating the mood and momentum of the place to take it to a different level altogether. Their I saw what devotion means, to give in unconditionally, unquestionably to a force unknown. It relaxes your mind, when you let go. As if you unburden all your sorrows and grievances and are lightened by that feeling. Yes it felt divine!

Lord Krishna has a unique charm of being the embodiment of an adorable child that every mother would like to have, the romanticism of a lover that every girl would be enticed with and a wise companion that everyone would like to befriend. So true to all these traits, Janmasthami is celebrated in much grander and exuberant with lot of zeal and enthusiasm. From the decoration of 'palna' (cradle), swings, enactment of 'ras-lila"  and creation of human pyramid to break the 'matka' - all forms of song, dance and merriment form part of the celebration. 

But being alone I went the simple way by keeping the fast and making a simple sweet, that was my offered as the "prasad". This is basically a coconut barfi but because of its texture and moistness, it tasted almost like kalakand, which is a great favourite of mine. So combining two great sweets makes it a delicious combo, specially if its as easy as its' delicious. I'm sure you will like it.

Kalakand style Coconut Barfi Recipe

Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1 can (400 gms)
Desiccated Coconut  - 2 cups + 1 tbsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp (Adjust as per liking)
Ghee - 4-5 tbsp
Cardamom Powder - 2 tsp
Almond silvers - 1/3 cup

  1. Combine sugar, milk and 2 cups coconut in a heavy bottomed pan and cook on medium low heat till milk gets reduced to 1/3rd, about 12-15 mins. Stir in between, to avoid sticking to bottom.

  2. Add ghee and cardamom powder and stir till ghee starts leaving the side. 

  3. Remove from heat and transfer to either a greased dish or a pan lined with cellophane wrap. 

  4. Sprinkle almond silvers and 1 tbsp coconut on top. Keep in fridge to cool for at least an hour.

  5. Then cut it with blunt knife in squares and keep back again in fridge for 20 mins.

And your barfis are ready to be offered to the God or Guests, since both are same in Indian customs (not necessarily in practice)! Would also love to hear how you celebrate this festival. 

Sharing this sweet treat with Vrat ka khana.

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