24 Oct 2014

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties)

Diwali. The Festival of Lights. A time to celebrate with family and friends. And lots of delicious home-cooked food. From besan laddoos to chaklis,  Diwali is not complete without the traditional array of sweet and savoury delights.

I have been busy in the kitchen all this week, rustling up some traditional and some not-so-traditional dishes. Here I present my unconventional take on the  Maharashtrian Naralachi Karanji, a very traditional pasty from the western fringes of India, filled with a sweet coconut filling.

It is my Aai's (Mother's) recipe, modified to suit our changing palate. I have used wholemeal flour to make my sweet coconut pasties, instead of the more traditional Maida (refined flour). And I opted to bake rather than deep fry my Karanjis as a healthier alternative.

To make the sweet coconut pasties, you will need:
For the filling:
2 cups finely shredded fresh coconut
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tspn freshly ground cardamom powder

For the pasty cases:
2 cups wholemeal flour. I used Pilsbury Atta, available in most Asian shops
4 tbspn warm ghee (clarified butter)
1 cup semi-skimmed milk

For the bake:
Flour to dust, as needed
Ghee to grease the baking sheet
Milk to brush

Start by finely shredding the flesh of a fresh coconut in a food processor. (Break it open and separate the flesh from the hard outer shell before putting it in the processor). Cook the coconut with the milk and sugar on a medium-high heat, till the sugar melts and the mixture starts to bubble and splutter. Now reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking with intermittent stirring till the mixture thickens. Take the pan off the heat and mix in the cardamom powder. Allow the mixture to cool down completely before you use it.

Make the pasty dough by mixing the flour with the ghee and milk. If the ghee is solid, warm it for 20-40 seconds in the microwave to make it runny. The dough is kneaded to a firm consistency. Cover it and allow it to rest for at least an hour before using it to make your pasties.

Divide the rested dough into little balls and flatten them in the palms of your hands. Roll out each of these flat discs, dusting with flour to avoid sticking. Go as thin as you possibly can without allowing the dough to crack.

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) - the dough

Spoon a generous amount of the sweet coconut filling into the centre of the rolled out dough. Bring the edges together, almost like a taco, and stick them firmly together.

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) - the filling

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) - fold and stick
Now, you can either do the filling and sticking with the dough sitting on the rolling platform, or it can  be done with the disc sitting in the palm of your hand. I find the latter method a lot easier and quicker.

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) - filling it

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) -sticking it

You can crimp the edge to make the pasties look just that little bit nicer.

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) - crimping it

Place the pasties on a baking sheet greased with a small amount of ghee. Brush the tops with a little milk.

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties) - baking it

Bake the pasties in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees (fan-assisted) for about 20-25 minutes, or till the tops have browned.

Allow to cool before tucking into your scrumptious baked sweet coconut pasties.

You don't really have to wait for Diwali to make these delectable delicacies. Any occasion is good enough to make, bake and eat Naralachi Karanji.

Naralachi Karanji (Sweet Coconut Pasties)

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  1. I am unfortunately not a coconut fan, I would never have imagined you could use it in pasties, very inventive x

  2. I have never come across these, but they sound delicious, I love sweet coconut!

  3. These do look tasty but the smell of coconut doesn't agree with me one bit!

  4. Never had them but I bet they are very yum!

  5. These sound locely. I know my boys would love to try these. I love learning more about different cultures and foods

  6. I would never have thought about using coconut in pasties but they do look yummy! I love coconut though!

  7. Oh they sound delicious. We don't often have coconut as my husband really doesn't like it.

  8. They looks so nice would love to have ago at them .x

  9. Im a fiend for coconut and love a pasty so I would love to get my hands on a batch of these! They look great. Do you use a box grater to shred the coconut flesh?

  10. These sounds absolutely delicious, I love coconut. They look lovely too, well done.

  11. Not for me, not a fan of coconut, but the wife will be wanting them!

  12. Oh I do like the sound of these x

  13. I have a bit of a mental block with coconut for some reason! But these look yummy

  14. Asian mithai are my weakness. As soon as I tasted them I knew I had to find out how to make them so I can have them whenever I want ;-) I've made gajar halva, burfi, laddoo, gulab jamun - even attempted jalebi, but never these. Time to roll up my sleeves and learn something new.

  15. These look amazing and I love trying new things, thanks for sharing the recipe! X

  16. These look really interesting. I too would never have thought about putting coconut in pasties but I can see how it makes for a sweet treat.

  17. I love coconut and I've never had anything like this. I will try to recreate it.
    Thank you for sharing.

  18. These look lovely and I bet they tasted nice too.

  19. These look delicious and beautifully crimped. I like the fact that they are baked.

  20. These look delicious and so unusual. A lovely treat

  21. Love these, wonder if they'd work with rice flour! I adore coconut, this is such a pretty post too! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

  22. Oh these are beautiful! They almost look too good to eat!

  23. You know, British cuisine really misses out on some delicious things. These sound amazing.


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