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Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

I received this recipe from Safiyha Ali, an attorney who blogs about food at Lifespan of a Chenette, and whose mom is particularly masterful at making this Muslim special-occasion dessert. Maleeda is a dessert common to Muslim communities in Central Asia, with origins in Afghanistan. Historically maleeda was made by Afghan women who said prayers while breaking up the griddle bread that is the basis of the dessert in their hands so it would become a nazr, a vow or serious commitment to God in Islam. In Trinidad, as in its regions of origin, maleeda is used to celebrate births, weddings, engagements, and other special occasions including Eid Al Fitr. In Trinidad, coconut, black pepper, and maraschino cherries add a twist to the original recipe.


  • 4 hot paratha roti
  • 1 cup flaked desiccated coconut
  • ¾ pound brown sugar
  • 8 ounces butter or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • ¼ cup raisins, chopped
  • ¼ cup candied maraschino cherries, chopped
  • cup evaporated milk


  1. Shred the parathas finely in a food processor.
  2. Put shredded parathas in a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the evaporated milk and stir to mix well.
  3. Add the evaporated milk slowly stirring until the batter comes together to be able to form firm but moist balls.
  4. Form the dough into balls about the size of golf balls and serve.