For some one who swears by Madras ( now Chennai .. you know all about your loyalty to the birth place and all) , I have these ancestral threads and lineage linking to the grand old city of Mysore and a bit beyond. A good 20 km or 12 miles or so from the main city of Mysore lies the sleepy village of Nanjangud. I am not exactly sure on the origins of how the lineage was established to this , but the annual or bi-annual journey for our family inevitably includes a car trip from Bangalore to Mysore. On the way of course we stopped for tender coconuts – what a refreshment right down to your soul, and of course Maddur Vade. There is this small joint on the way called Maddur tiffany’s or something similar. The simply serve the very best of this variation. My mom simply loves these. It does not matter what time of the day the trip occurred, a stop for these was always included in the travel itinerary. And yes hot, piping hot, crunchy flat discs browned with deep-frying in the oil but glistening with the tone of fried onions in these and spiced by green chilies and flavored by curry leaves, cilantro and Jeera.. Oh my! Sure takes you down the memory lane! And no matter how hot the temperature was on the outside, my mom always had it with a cup of steaming hot filter coffee. Always!
It somehow struck me that on FD, I should make these. Just like that ! Sometimes you don’t need a reason for a good thing.. a feel good thing!
I was running ragged between the kids and their classes ! Yep! During such moments of insanity that creep in albeit briefly is born the desperate sense of recipe development and sense to accomplish a thing or two .. more like a stress buster. You see , I was the kind to clean up my room before the exam fever [pitched is high. I had to de stress and often cleaning organizing and making lists would be on my hit list. Somehow a visual task list with hit list of things to do would create a sense of order in the chaotic turbulence that prevails within me. And I have been ragged royally on it as well.. my cousins and sisters in spirit Anu and Kris have perfected the art!
And out of sheer desperation in purging out things from the pantry I noticed that I had one too many cans of condensed milk ( apparently I did shopping without a list, Tsk Tsk ) and a bag of desiccated coconut flakes ( which of course snuck into my pantry cause I could not find decent coconuts once upon a time in NC when I desperately needed one. Sigh! Hence decided a packet or two of desiccated coconut flakes with a rehydration experiment should work . To cut a long story short and chemistry theories aside I had an extra packet of this). And there was an impending urgency in me to create something that was not assaulting my kids blood level with tons of sugar. (Really, have you noticed a 5 year old on a sugar high. Know those bouncy balls? My youngest could put it to shame. And my middle one, she can talk nonstop on it for hours. My oldest though is strangely immune to outburst of these kind, but his witty , sarcastic one liners reach new high . Go figure!). Notice how DH is not in the picture, cause somehow globetrotting on work seem to throw up an invisible shield around him ( sarcasm folks !). May the force be with him ! Anyway I did manage to save a few for him.
Fat Free condensed milk – 14 oz
Unsweetened Desiccated coconut flakes – 3-3.5 cups depending on the store brand and quality
Cardamom pods : 6-8 – roughly pounded
Saffron a few strands
Melted butter or ghee – 1 tbsp to coat your hands when you make those ladoos and to grease the baking pan
In a heavy bottomed ban, add in the condensed milk and 3.5 cups of desiccated coconut flakes and mix well. Add in the powdered cardamom pods and saffron.
On medium heat in about 8-10 minutes, you will notice the mixture clumping together.If at this stage you notice that the condensed milk has not bound in the flakes and you still feel it a bit more liquify, add in more coconut flakes. About 1/4 cup or so.
Once the desiccated coconut flakes absorb in the milk and sugar from the condensed milk and is more softer to touch , it will be in very thick fudge consistency.
Scoop it out in a greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Flatten the surface using the spatula and parchment paper.
While it is cooling down, slice it up. ( chilled mine in the refrigerator . What can I say, I am impatient !)
You can serve it as fudge slices or soft burfis at this stage.
To make Ladoos, grease your palms well, pick up a sliced buffi piece and roll it into those pillowy soft balls of goodness.
Roll in a cup of desiccated coconut after that to give the effect and texture.
Don’t have desiccated coconut flakes? Use fresh. It will take a bit longer to get to the fudge consistency in the cooking time, but hey it will be worth it.
Don’t have unsweetened coconut flakes, try the mildly sweeter version. The condensed milk has enough sugar to offset the unsweetened flakes. This version would have a little more sugar in the punch. But, hey then again, each one’s taste – o – meter for sugar tolerance and requirement varies.
Don’t have coconut flakes? try coconut powder instead. But just make sure they rehydrate well.
Want to add in nuts? feel free. Almonds, Pistachios and more…
How about dried fruits? Go on try what comes to your mind, raisins, cranberries , dates…