Homes are beautifully decorated with lamps and traditional artwork. Children and adults alike dress up in their best and brightest and the atmosphere lights up to a million fireworks. Moms slog it out for days in the kitchen to whip up an amazing variety of sweet and savory items alongside a sumptuous festive lunch.
However, little surprise – almost none of the dishes are allergy friendly. But, my little one loves this fun-filled festival so much that over the years, I have slowly tweaked mom’s recipes to make Diwali a joyous and AF (Allergy Friendly) one. Over the next 2 days, leading up to the big day on Oct 26th – I will spread the light of joy and the aroma of yummy dishes from my home to yours…
Coconut cake or as my mom would call it ‘coconut burfee’ was one of my favorite sweets growing up. They taste a lot like coconut macaroons but even better because they are AF (Allergy Friendly)! Before I go any further, I would like to emphasize that ‘coconut is not a nut’. It is just a fruit of one of the varieties of palm trees.
So, here goes…AF Coconut Cake 🙂
Yield: Approximately 15 pieces
- Fresh coconut gratings: 1 cup (Available in the frozen section of South Asian stores)
- Sugar: 1 cup
- Saffron: 3-4 strings
- Cardamom: 2-3
- Raisins: 1 teaspoon
- Water 1/3 cup
- Grease the bottom and edges of a square baking dish and keep it aside.
- In a small deep dish, heat a teaspoon of oil on a low to medium flame. Add the rasins to the heated oil and stir. In a couple of minutes the raisins will absorb the oil and swell up and also brown a little. Remove it from the pan and keep it aside. This process helps release the flavors in the raisin and also softens it for use in desserts.
- 1/8 th of a teaspoon of cardamom powder can be used if you have the powdered version readily available. However, like with any spice or condiment – freshly ground cardamom tastes way better. Pop open a 2-3 cardamoms and loosen the black seeds inside. Crush it a fine powder in a small mortar and pestle. You can also use a rolling pin to crush it. Keep it aside.
- In a heavy bottomed vessel or good non-stick pan, combine the sugar and water and place the pan on a low to medium flame.
- Add the coconut gratings once the sugar has completely dissolved and keep stirring.
- The mixture will become thick and gooey in about 20 minutes. At this stage add 1 tablespoon of any butter substitute or oil and continue stirring keeping a close watch . You can skip adding any fat at this point but it helps the mixture come away from the edges of the pan more easily as the moisture evaporates completely.
- In approximately 5 minutes, the mixture will start rising up a little and leave the edges of the vessel. Add the cardamom powder and saffron strings and mix well.
- Immediately pour the mixture into the greased dish and spread it evenly. The back of the wooden ladle can be used to spread the mixture out evenly.
- When it has cooled down slightly, cut the mixture with a greased knife into small squares gently.
- Let it cool completely and now you will be able to seperate the squares easily. Pry the squares apart gently to avoid breaking them.
- Store in an air-tight containerfor upto 2 weeks in a cool, dark place 🙂
Keep following my ‘Diwali Special’ series. Tomorrow we will whip up a batch of crunchy rice sticks.