Diwali is almost here!
It’s T-3 as I write and heading into T-2. Need I say more?
It’s time to get our act together and prepare for a party fit for gods. And who would be pleased with a festive gathering lacking traditional dessert?
So ladoo it is! Besan ladoos to be precise. Every college break that I was home would culminate with a day of ladoo prep. My mother knew I loved them, especially in winters, so each trip besan ladoos were tuck that I carried back. I was extremely possessive, sharing only a small quota with my roommates. If any of you drop by and read this, you can come over and have some made by moi!Prep time: 1 hour approximately.
Yields 20 medium-sized ladoos.
3 cups Besan (chickpea/ gram flour),
1 cup Sugar (Add 1/2 cup more if you like it really sweet),
1 cup Ghee (melted; gauge need and adjust quantity accordingly),
2-3 tsp Cardamom powder,
Optional: 10-12 Dates (chopped; for a low sugar version).
First, measure all ingredients.
Next, you’ll have to roast the besan. For this put a heavy bottomed pan/wok on medium high heat. Then add besan to it and start stirring and turning. The most crucial part of ladoo making is this first step. Besan will start heating up quickly, especially the lowest layer closest to heat. It’s necessary to stir the flour and keep it moving to avoid burning it. Ladoos won’t smell or taste great if the besan used is burnt.The best way to know if besan is done is to keep a check on its color. It will also become fragrant as it cooks. If you see brown particles at the bottom- those are burnt.
After besan is done, take it off the heat and let it rest. Cool besan until warm enough to handle with your hands.At this time measure ghee and warm it to melt. We need melted, liquid ghee to make ladoos.
And now comes the final step: mixing all the ingredients together to make small spherical balls called ladoos.
In a wide platter or flat bowl mix together besan, sugar and cardamom powder. Then make a well in the center and pour the ghee. Mix besan and ghee. After this, take about two tablespoons of mixtures into the cup of your palms and press together to make small balls. Work through the mix. If binding is difficult and ladoos break apart too quickly, adding additional warm ghee will help.
I’ve noticed that most women work with warm besan. To my understanding sugar caramelizes faster at a warmer temperature and binds with besan. Heat from a person’s palms also helps this process.
Dessert fit for Diwali is done.
I also make a version with lesser sugar by using dates.
Follow the same steps for roasting besan. Then instead of adding 1 cup of sugar, use only 1/4 cup and replace the rest with chopped dates.
Mix them with besan, add ghee and mould into ladoos.
A healthier option for diet conscious guests is ready.
Hope you have a lovely Diwali with lots of fun, food and merriment.
If you are looking for recipes- from entrees to desserts- to try out this festive season-, you can find them here!