THE SOLEMN OCTOBER SPELL – ‘KATI BIHU’

Bihu is the cultural/traditional festival of Assam celebrated by all irrespective of caste or religion. There are three Bihu celebrated at different times of the year as they are associated with paddy cultivation. Assam being predominantly an agricultural state and rice being its staple crop, Bihu holds an important place in the heart of the Assamese people. Kati or Kongali Bihu coincides with the September solstice and usually at this time of the year, the rice crop stands in the fields. Granaries are almost empty hence this event exhibits the moments of constraint.

The most beautiful part this Bihu is the lighting of lamps ‘akaxbonti’ on long bamboo poles. It is believed, like many other communities, that during this night the spirits transcends to their heavenly abode and the light show them the way. I feel they are just light traps for insects, a very eco-friendly way of getting rid of the pests. This results in a healthy crop. Usually, we Assamese people prepare sweets with ground rice called ‘pitha’ and also coconut laddoos during Bihu. At home Coconut laddoos are usually prepared for any festival to be it Bihu or Eid. My mom usually makes them with freshly grated coconut. And they taste divine. I would often fall prey to my temptation and sneak out one or two from the container . Well,…mom would get to know!! They always do.

A huge container full of laddoos were a part of my luggage along with a few other goodies when going back to my hostel. The ones made by my mom made don’t need refrigeration and could be stored in a cool spot inside an airtight container. But these recipe has milk so they need to refrigerate. A vegan version is coming up soon.


Coconut and milk laddoo (truffles)

Course: Desert
Cuisine: Indian
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
INGREDIENTS
Desiccated Coconut 1 cup
Milk (full fat) – 1 liter
Condensed milk ¼ cup
Sugar 100 g
Cardamon powder ¼ tsp
Semolina (roasted) ½ cup
Sesame seeds 2 tbsp
Almonds, pistachios & cashew (chopped) – ½ cup
Clarified butter 1 tbsp
Saffron 12-15 strands
METHOD
  1. In a deep pan combine milk, condensed milk, and sugar
  2. Keep stirring the mixture over medium heat
  3. Take out 2 tbsp of warm milk and soak the saffron strands
  4. When the mixture starts reducing add the desiccated coconut
  5. Let the mixture reduce further till it seems semi-solid
  6. Then add the saffron mixture, cardamom powder and roasted Semolina. Mix well and remove from heat
  7. Heat another frying pan and melt clarified butter
  8. Add the chopped nuts and sesame seeds
  9. Fry for a minute and add them to the semi-solid mixture
  10. Apply ghee to your palms and roll out the truffles or laddoos
  11. Coat them in some extra desiccated coconut and serve.

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