Coconut Burfi is a Diwali classic. Diwali is when I am most nostalgic about my childhood in India. Splashes of beautiful colors, the loud burst of fireworks, the sound of laughter running through the house and… the scintillating smell of COCONUT BURFI.
Coconut Burfi was and is, my favorite of the Indian sweets. It has three ingredients – grated coconut, sugar and a bit of cashew for that little crunch, tastes like heaven, melts in your mouth. Can you feel that sugary goodness melting in your mouth, down your throat, making every bite feel like its bursting like fireworks on Diwali?
Traditionally, Barfi, barfee, or burfi (derived from the word barf – pronounced bh-ur-fh) is a dense milk based sweet from India, whose ingredients are cooked in a vessel till the milk solidifies. My recipe for the Coconut Burfi, has no added milk, except for a tablespoon in which the raw cashew nuts are soaked. The recipe uses the natural milk in the coconut to give it that characteristic moisture and the sugar to thicken it.
Coconut trees are abundant in South of India where 90% of the production for the country comes from. They are considered to be auspicious.You will find that in most households in India, a coconut (nariyal) is broken as a symbol of purity during ceremonies.
I have fond memories of my mother and grandmother stirring the Coconut Burfi’s in heavy bottomed pans (kadai), and storing these square-shaped delicacies in big stainless steel containers. I would run into the kitchen to grab a cup filled with piping hot coconut and sugar mixture before they were even done!
My love affair with the delectable concoction began on my grandmother’s lap. But it was my aunt, my mothers’ eldest sister, Jaya, who taught me how to make them “her mothers way”. My husband too grew up eating coconut burfi but my mother-in-law makes them different. I have learned over years, that almost every family in India has their own recipe for making Coconut Burfi.
The taste of the fresh coconuts in the United States is different. Less sweet with more of oil in them. Then I discovered frozen grated coconut found in the freezer section of Indian specialty stores. And they came close to the taste.
So this Diwali, I am making these delicious Coconut Burfi’s. Not only as an homage to my heritage and the long line of talented ancestors but also to capture that sweet spot of happiness for my children, just like I did.
Enjoy these incredibly easy, melt in your mouth coconut burfi’s. Make them for those sweet cravings or as a special gift or a special occasion.