A laddoo (or laddu as it sometimes spelt) is an Indian sweet which is almost always a part of festive or celebratory fare. Laddoos are made from one of a variety of ingredients including lentil flours, grain flours (such as rice or wheat), nuts, etc. All laddoos are usually made with sugar (or jaggery), ghee (how much or little would depend on the type of laddoo and the recipe used), cardamom, and perhaps cashewnuts and raisins.
Anyone who knows India would be aware that it is a country whose states are almost like countries themselves, each with its own language (or dialect and script), cuisine, customs and traditions. Yet the laddoo is one of those foods which are made in every state in some form or the other.
The laddoos in this post are made from rava (semolina). These laddoos are very much a Palakkad Iyer preparation too, but without the coconut.
This recipe happens to be "the introductory recipe" for the ICC (no it's not Cricket I'm talking about!). Srivalli has started the Indian Cooking Challenge where bloggers can get together every month to cook some Indian food following a single recipe. So, if you are interested in being a part of this, you should be writing to Srivalli.
When Srivalli told me the first recipe they were trying out was "Rava Laddoos", I just realized I hadn't made them in a long time. I usually make them for Diwali, but since we weren't really celebrating anything last year it's been almost 2 years since I made these!
Akshaya especially likes these laddoos, so I promised Srivalli I would join in for this edition.
I couldn't make them or post them on time (the 30th of June was the deadline) for reasons beyond me but a promise made is a promise to be kept.
You can find the recipe on Srivalli's blog and here you can find my version. I didn't change anything other than reducing the sugar by 1/4 cup 1 cup sugar was much too sweet for us), and presenting the weights in tsps/ tbps.
1 cup rava (semolina)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp ghee (clarified unsalted butter)
2 tbsp milk (warm)
2 pods cardamom, powdered
10 cashewnuts, halved
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
Heat the ghee in a pan/ wok. Turn down the heat and fry the raisins, stirring constantly. Remove them from the ghee once they puff up.
In the same ghee, fry the cashewnuts till they're golden brown. Similarly lightly toast the coconut and keep both aside.
Add the rava (semolina) to the remaining ghee and roast the rava, stirring constantly, till it is pinkish in colour and gives off an aroma.
In a bowl, put the rava, cashews, raisins, coconut and the cardamom powder. Add the sugar and mix well.
Now add the milk (1 tbsp at a time) and mix. Add just enough milk so that if you hold the rava mixture in your palm and try to shape it, it should hold the shape.
At this point, put this mixture back inot the pan/ wok (used for roasting the rava) and cook the mixture over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir well, then cover it and let it rest for another 2 minutes. By now the mixture would be cool enough to handle.
Lightly grease your palms with ghee, if necessary, and work quickly to shape into balls the size of small lemons. If the laddoos seem a little soft, they will set once they're completely cool.
This recipe makes 10 laddoos.
This method is slightly different from the way I usually make mine. Mine calls for making a sugar syrup with milk and sugar and then adding the other ingredients to it.
This recipe is certainly better as there is no need to gauge the sugar syrup consistency. This is also the first time I've seen coconut in rava laddoo.
I would definitely recommend this recipe over those which use ghee (as this lower in fat) even though the milk in this recipe would mean the laddoos need to be eaten within 4 to 5 days.
This is also a very easy method. I made these laddoos in half an hour!