Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sindur khela...Kolakuli...Subho Bijoyar Chandrapuli...

In Bengal, Goddess Durga is worshiped during Devipokhsha(the fortnight of Goddess) for five days. It starts on Shasthi(the sixth lunar day) with Bodhon(welcome) of the goddess and ends on Dashami(the tenth lunar day), when the idol is immersed in river or pond. Dashami is commonly known as Bijoya Dashami denoting the victory of Ma Durga over Mahisasur, the buffalo-headed demon. This is the last day of Durga Puja.

The immortal Goddess comes to her devotees into mortal form for these five days. The five-day celebration of Durga Puja comes to an end with the Bhasan(immersion of idols) and the Goddess goes back to Kailash, her husband's abode. Before we bid a tearful farewell to goddess Durga and her four children— Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh, the married women perform a ritual called 'Sindur  khela'. Sindur khela is putting vermilion on each others forehead and praying for long and happy married life. Married women of all ages take part in this.

After bhasan(immersion of the idol) the younger people touch the feet (Pronam) of their elders for their blessings and the men of same age do Kolakuli(hugging each other in a particular way). During this time we visit our relatives and close friends to say Subho Bijoya to them. And of course greet each other with platters of sweets like naru(coconut balls), chandrapuli(half moon coconut fudge), goja(fried sweet) and savouries like ghugni(white peas curry), nimki(fried crispy) etc.

Though I am miles away from my own city still, I can feel the festive pulse for these five days. Our puja  here is compressed to a weekend puja, but still I feel the same sadness on Dashami. To relive the wonderful memories of my childhood days, I made some Chandrapuli. A speciality sweet for Bijoya Dashami, made of coconut and solidified milk. Wish you all Subho Bijoya and as well as Happy Dusshera.

Things needed to make Chandrapuli:

  • Coconut (grated): 1cup
  • Mawa(solidified milk): 1cup
  • Green cardamom (crushed): 6-7
  • Milk: 2-3tbsp
  • Sugar: 3/4cup
  • Ghee(clarified butter): 2tbsp
  • Raisins or pistachio for garnish

Steps of making Chandrapuli:

1. Make a fine paste of the grated coconut. Using milk makes it easy to paste.

2. Take the seeds of the green cardamoms and crush them. Do not use the outer part of the cardamom, but do not discard it, keep it for some other dishes.

3. Grate the mawa. If you do not get mawa sustitute that with condensed milk. Condensed milk are already sweetened so you may need not to add extra sugar.

4. In a heavy bottom non stick pan heat ghee on medium heat. As the ghee melts add the crushed cardamom seeds. Reduce heat to low and add coconut paste and grated mawa. Mix well. Keep stirring till the mawa melts completely and get well mixed with the coconut paste. Keep the flame to low to low-medium. Keep stirring the mixture till the mixture starts to come together and drier. Gradually add sugar. It is a little time consuming and stirring continuously makes the hand pain, but there is no other way to do it.

5. the amount of sugar always depends on your choice. As I like mine to be less sweet I added about 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Take a little mixture and taste it to adjust the sweetness.

6. When the mixture becomes thick take a little mixture in you hand and try make a smooth ball, if you are successful making a smooth one then the mixture is done. Switch off the heat. Let it stand for 5-8min.

7. Take the chandrapuli mould, brush little ghee on it. Take handful of coconut mixture and shape it like chandrapuli. Chandra means moon in Sanskrit. The half moon shaped sweet is called so because of its shape.

8. The mixture should be hot to touch while moulding. After moulding 4-5 sweets clean the mould with a piece of clean cloth and brush a little ghee again. This helps the mould keep clean and the shaping the sweets become easy. If you do not have the mould, just make large circles from the mixture and cut into half moon shape and garnish with dry fruits.

8. Garnish the sweets with raisins or pistachio or any other dry frits of your choice. I remember my grand mother used add a little amount of camphor to the coconut mixture. That gives a nice aroma. But I did not have it so could not add it.

Store the sweets on an air tight container, 1cup of coconut and 1 cup mawa yields about 20-22 chandrapuli.

Enjoy with friends and family...Subho Bijoya..


  1. Chandrapuli darun hoyeche.Subho bijoya to you too.

  2. Very nice! Can I use grated frozen coconut that we can buy here in the Indian grocery stores (here maning the US)? thank you!

    1. Yes, you can. I have also used frozen grated coconut for this.

  3. Where do you get mawa , can you make it at home instead of using condensed milk .


  4. If you are in India, you can get mawa in any sweet shop. And if you are residing outside India then try in the Indian stores, in US I used to get Nanak brand mawa from the Indian store.