"Pitri Pokkho Sesh.... Debi Pokkho Shuru".... Mahalaya marks the end of Pitripokkho...the day Bengalis pay homage to their ancestors through offering of food. Then starts the Devi Pokkho, it is said on this day Maa Durga starts her journey from heaven for earth, her parental home with her four children.... Saraswati, Lakshmi, Ganesh and Kartik. She travels 7 days to reach us and then we welcome her and call it 'Shoshtir Bodhon'. They say Debi Pokkho ushers in happiness. We keep aside all our sorrows and indulge in merrymaking. I will not go much into details because that requires a lot of research. I relay what I heard from my parents, grand parents.
Remembering childhood, Mahalaya meant a beautiful autumn morning. An early rise, watching daddy all set for the Holy Ganges to pay homage to his ancestors. Today, he is 75, the tradition continues. By 5am he is off to The Ganges to perform the rituals. The worried daughter asks someone to escort him. Once he came back performing all rituals, it was celebration time. Good food started with breakfast. I remotely remember, it may have been a school holiday. Preparing home made sweets and snacks was on full swing. It was getting ourselves ready to welcome Maa Durga.
We prepare a variety of coconut ladoo for various occasions, sometimes adding khoya, at times reducing the milk to kheer, with jaggery or sugar. On the eve of this Mahalaya, I wish to share a coconut ladoo recipe done with only 2 ingredients. The only thing required is a bit of patience. Let us do it this puja .
Sugar : 1 medium cup
Shredded Coconut : 250gm
Camphor Tablet : 1[alternatively 1/4tsp cardamom powder]
Water : 1big cup
In a clean wok, add the sugar and water together. Put over the burner and boil at medium to low heat.
When it reduces and gets sticky, say about 10-12 minutes later, add the shredded coconut. Fold in well and keep on stirring. The coconut will release water.
Add the camphor tablet and keep on stirring at medium to low heat without stopping for a while. This is done to avoid burning of the coconut.
After 15 minutes, the whole thing gets sticky and tends to come out from the wok base.
Transfer to a plate, leave for 4-5 minutes. Shape into small balls as in the picture when it is still warm.
Smoothen rolling in between two palms.
Cool and store in airtight jars. Can be stored up to 10 days if refrigerated.