Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Recipe of the month - Coconut Burfi

You know when you go through transitional phases of not liking certain things to suddenly liking them and vice versa? If there was an Indian sweet that I disliked before but I now absolutely love, it would have to be coconut burfi. This is a festive sweet that many an Indian will associate right from their childhood days. The reason I never liked it when I was younger was because I never fancied coconut that much. Bounty was the only chocolate that I would not eat while I was growing up. The texture and smell of the coconut would put me off. But as I grew up and my tastes matured, I began to appreciate everything about coconut - the natural sweetness, the flaky texture, subtle flavor and its incredible versatility. Coconut in different forms (coconut oil, tender coconut water, coconut milk, grated fresh coconut and dried coconut) has a multitude of uses especially in Indian cooking and is used both to prepare savory as well as sweet dishes. 

Coconut burfi, as its name suggests is primarily made from grated fresh coconut and sugar. Here in Singapore, all I have to do is walk 2 mins to the vegetable market opposite my place and for a paltry sum of 2-3 dollars, the coconut vendor gives me a whole bag of freshly grated pristine white coconut. From here, making coconut burfi is a breeze! I am so spoiled that I don't really know how to grate coconut on my own *grins sheepishly* The best thing about this sweet is that it requires very few ingredients, is easy to put together and tastes delicious. 

This recipe results in coconut burfi that is slightly soft and almost has a fudge-like consistency. Try it and you will be amazed at how simple it is :) 

Preparation time: 45 min 
Recipe level: Easy
Serves: 4-5


1 cup grated fresh coconut
¼ cup milk
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cardamom powder (optional)


  1. Take a non-stick pan, add the grated coconut, milk, sugar and keep stirring on low flame till all the moisture gets evaporated. You will start to notice that stirring becomes more difficult and gradually the entire mixture comes together as a ball and the sides of the pan appears clean. Add the cardamom powder towards the end and mix well.
  2. Smear ghee on a plate (if you don’t want to use ghee, you can line with parchment paper), pour this mixture onto the plate and spread the mixture evenly with a spatula.
  3. When still warm, cut into the desired shape and let cool.
  4. Store the burfis in an air-tight container.

  • Make sure that you don't get the brown bits of the coconut when you are grating it. It affects the color of the burfis
  • If you don't stir the coconut mixture long enough and the moisture is not completely evaporated, the burfis will not set properly
  • Don't worry if the burfis have jagged edges. We don't require perfection in this case! 
  • You can decorate the burfis with cashew nuts if desired
  • For an interesting twist, you can dip leftover burfis in melted dark chocolate and leave them on a wire rack to cool and subsequently fridge to harden - this will give you an Indian version of homemade Bounty! 

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