Kobri Mithayee or Tenga Burfi - Coconut Sweet
This name brings back memories of the numerous “potti kadais” (“Box shops” when literally translated, to denote their tiny size!), selling betel leaves, scented nuts, ‘goli’ sodas, tobacco, snuff, beedies and cigarettes, which dotted every corner of our ancient city not so long ago. Ripe Nanjangood Rasa Bales - a special sweet variety of bananas, were hung in bunches from the ceiling of the ‘shops’. These shops were mere wooden boxes which sat conveniently on any and every corner of the compound walls which ran along the busy city streets. A garland of newspapers and magazines were strung across the 10’ x 10’ ‘shop’. The ‘bennae’ biscuits ( butter biscuits), ‘karada kadale’ (spiced up ground nuts), kodu balae (a crispy savory dough ring), lemon peppermints, the mint candies with zebra stripes , the mini sized ‘kadlekai undaes’ (a sweet made of ground nuts and jaggery ), and the ever adorable kobri mithayees were all lined up in shiny glass jars in the front row of the shop attracting school children who passed by.
Kobri mithayee has been the favourite among school children through many generations. The school where my children studied had a ‘tuck shop’ where they sold goodies to the children during tea breaks. My children often pestered me for two rupees before going to school, just to buy their favourite ‘tuck’. I wondered what this 'tuck' was all about until finally I found out that it was nothing but our old kobri mithayee in a new caramelized form.
Mother prepared the best of kobri mithayees , which looked like snow white crystals ,soft and chewy at the same time .We hung around while the sweet was being prepared enjoying the aroma to our heart’s content. The moment they were cut, the hot sweet squares melted into our eager mouths and disappeared without a trace. Somehow, I never got the same texture when I tried to prepare kobri mithayee. A friend of mine gave me a fool proof method to prepare this sweet. Though it can never match mother’s preparation,I think I have managed to get a satisfactory mithayee.
Requirements are 1 coconut, 1 tumbler milk and 2 tumblers of sugar. When I measured the gratings of one moderate sized coconut it measured up to 1 .5 tumblers. The measures are given accordingly below.
Fresh grated coconut - 1 and 1/2 portions
Sugar – 2 portions
Milk – 1 portion
1. Mix all the ingredients in a thick vessel and place it on flame.
2. Keep stirring till the sugar starts to melt.
3. Decrease flame to low, and go about your other chores.
4. Stir the liquid mass now and then.
5. When the whole mass thickens, it will gather into a big ball while stirring.
6. Pour this into a greased plate and flatten with a spatula.
7. When it cools and solidifies cut it into squares with a sharp knife
Store in a dry air tight jar, if anything is remaining after relishing your kobri mithayee!