Saturday, October 19, 2013

Shiyaanle Margol(Bonda/Tender Coconut Malai Dessert)

A foreign traveller once said "Amazing fruit this coconut is! It has food, drink, container and spoon all packed within!"

We, living in the coastal towns of the undivided Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka State are accustom to Coconuts, as coconut trees grow here abundantly. Shiyaanle in Konkani, Bonda/Yelaneeru in Tulu and Kannada or in general Tender Coconut on a sunny day is a refreshing natural drink. Malai or Ganji, the thin tender coconut kernel is a tasty natural dessert that the vendors patiently scoop with a makeshift spoon sliced off the outer cover of the nut.

My memory rewinds to the Seventies and Eighties when there were enthusiastic shop keepers in Mangalore in Car Street, Ballal Bagh and Market Road scooping the malai, mixing in sugar, Rasbaale banana and make an excellent dessert that we used to relish like we eat any pudding or ice cream! The GSB guy on Market Road near Variety Stores used to add Phova(beaten rice) to this malai dessert and make a complete snack after we consumed the tender coconut water.

A young friend of mine Mangala Shenoy recently recalled the name of that formula as 'Margol'. She mentioned that her father used to make that at home when she was a small girl, adding home made ghee to it. In some places, they even add cardamom powder or honey and make it better. Use your imagination and add a few of these natural ingredients and you have a healthy tasty dessert. Shown here is the process of making simple Malai Dessert and the ever popular Margol without ghee or honey.
Tender Coconut(with thin malai) - 1
Rasbale or Kadali banana - 1
Sugar - 1 Tsp
Phova - A handful(About 1/2 cup)
Honey - 1 Tsp(Optional)
Ghee - 1 Tsp(Optional)
Cardamom Powder - A pinch(Optional)

Shiyaanle Margol
Clean and spread the phova on a microwave proof plate and microwave for 10-15 secs in reheating mode. You can also dry the phova in the sun for and hour or so to dehydrate it. That way, phova doesn't get too soggy when mixed into the malai banana mixture.
Shave the tender coconut around the stem with a sharp knife. The vendor will do this for you.
Make a small hole in the center of the shaved portion with a knife or sickle and drain the water.
Make a 3" diameter opening on the shaved portion.
Slice off one of the three bottom ridge portion of the tender coconut and prepare a spoon with that. Wash it clean.
Scoop the malai with the spoon and lightly mash.
Peel and chop the banana into tiny bits and add to the scooped malai.
Add sugar and mix well. The malai banana and sugar mixture is slightly watery.
Now add phova and other optional ingredients and mix.
Eat directly from the tender coconut using the natural spoon, the natural way!

Plain Malai Dessert
1. Before adding phova, you may chill the malai banana sugar concoction in the fridge and serve as a tasty Malai Dessert.
2. Tender coconuts from old Mysore areas like Mandya, Tiptur, Arsikere, Channapatna and Nanjangud are best suited for this. You can also go for Kendaale Red ones(As shown in the pics) that have a unique flavour.

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