This is the final dish I made for Sankranthi. The actual festival was very low key, but we are heading to our cousin’s place this weekend for some belated celebrations. My cousin puts up a beautiful golu and she also celebrates ‘bhogi pallu’ for the kids.
As I was thinking of what to bring, I found this interesting halwa with coconut and banana in ‘Vegetarian Cookbook of India‘ cookbook by Mridula Baljekar. I had bananas that needed to be used up before leaving for the weekend, so this was a perfect recipe to make good use of them.
Also the recipe uses dry grated coconut cooked in some whole milk to give the texture of fresh coconut. Finding good fresh coconut is a little difficult here, but I always have dry grated coconut in my fridge, so this is a very convenient recipe to make for me.
The texture of the halwa is soft fudge-like, it does harden just a little bit when refrigerated but it’s not as hard as a burfi. Halwa can be served in small bowls or can be cut into squares or diamonds and served as burfi.
Combine dry grated coconut and milk in a saucepan and cook on medium flame until all of the milk is absorbed. This takes about 5~7 minutes. Skip this step if using fresh grated coconut.
Melt ghee/ butter in a non-stick pan and add the coconut and mashed banana. Cook on low flame for 4~5 minutes.
Next add sugar, cashews and raisins. Increase the flame to medium and cook, stirring continuously, for 15~17 minutes or until the mixture gets to a soft fudge like consistency. Ghee starts to ooze out from the corners.
Transfer the mixture in the greased mixture and sprinkle the toasted coconut and pistachios. Press lightly onto the surface.
Let cool before cutting into squares or diamonds.
*Note: Instead of the dry coconut and milk, use 1⅓cups of fresh grated coconut.