Cocada is another traditional sweet which is a part of the Goan Christmas platter. There are several recipes for cocada in various parts of the world. They range from hard to soft and can also be like a creamy textured flan. The Goan Cocada preparation is like a hard textured coconut barfi but the main difference is the addition of suji/semolina/rawa. In Konkanni, suji is known as ‘Rulao.’
The most difficult part of Cocada (like most Goan sweets) is the intense stirring involved. One learns to judge the right moment to turn out the mixture on to the cutting board only with experience. If you turn it out too early it will be soft like halwa and will not set enough to cut into solid pieces and if you turn it out too late then it will be hard as rock and very difficult to cut and bite into it. It takes a keen eye, and tremendous amount of patience to attain perfection but eventually it is worth the effort.
Enjoy this delectable, coconut flavored sweet… J
150 gms. fine Rawa/Suji/Semolina/Rulao
275 gms. Sugar
½ fresh Coconut (grated)
8 pods Green Cardamom (powdered)
A pinch – Salt
Water – as needed
Gently dry roast the rawa until rawness disappears but try & keep it as white as possible. Do not brown. Transfer to a bowl.
Grind the fresh grated coconut to a very fine and smooth paste with minimum water possible. Transfer to a bowl.
Grease your marble/granite counter or wooden board with liquid ghee.
Heat and dissolve sugar with a little water until syrupy in a sufficiently wide and thick bottomed dekchi/handi/pot/non-stick pot or in a pressure cooker body. (I used the pressure cooker body as it helps to grip the handle comfortably and firmly while stirring).
Add the fresh coconut paste, a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
Gradually, whisk in the roasted rawa; making sure that the mixture is smooth and without any lumps.
It is preferable to use a wooden spoon with a long handle to stir.
Cook on medium heat and keep stirring continuously while on heat.
At first, the mixture will have a soft texture and will be easy to stir.
As the mixture begins to thicken; add the fresh green cardamom powder and continue stirring.
You need to be very alert and prepped up for intense and continuous stirring! Stir vigorously and continuously using all your energy and focus. Make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. You may need to adjust the heat accordingly; if necessary.
When the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan and comes together to form a ball; Do not overcook till the mixture is dry. The mixture needs to have some moisture. Remember, suji/semolina/rawa/rulao will absorb the moisture; so the moment the mixture hits the counter, it will start drying up.
Pour out the mixture on a well greased marble/granite counter or wooden board; immediately smoothen or shape with a banana leaf or rolling pin and roll out to a 1 cm thickness.
When warm to the touch, cut into desired shapes and sizes.
Arrange on trays with enough room between the pieces of Cocada.
Let the pieces of Cocada cool down completely before serving and storing.
On cooling and drying for a considerable period, the suji will absorb the moisture and it will have a firm crust on the outside and a reasonable amount of softness like coconut barfi when you bite and savor it.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor!