27 October 2011


For Diwali this week, our housekeeper showed me how to make laddu, one of the traditional sweets. They're made with besan, which is lentil flour.

She started with 500 mL ghee, which is clarified butter. She heated it up on the stovetop until it was clear. Then she took small spoonfuls of the ghee and put it in a frying pan with a few spoonfuls of the besan, heating it all up together until it was all incorporated and the mixture was free of clumps. She did this for a long time, until she'd combined the ghee with about half of a kilogram (about one pound) of besan. It takes a while because you have to do such small amounts at once, in order to keep the besan from burning.

Then she put half of a kilogram of sugar in the food processor until it was very fine, and she stirred that into the besan-ghee mixture. She also added a few shakes of ground cardamom.

Once everything is mixed and is the right texture, you pick up small handfuls and form little balls. You can also add chopped nuts to the mixture and our housekeeper did half with cashews and half with pistachios. They sit in a cool room (we had to blast the air conditioner over the dining room table) until they've hardened up enough to not fall apart. Then they are eaten!

I liked them. They are heavy and sweet, but also quite filling because of the lentil flour so I tried to convince myself that one or two with a cup of coffee wasn't the worst treat in the world. Muffin enjoyed them as well.

According to our housekeeper, laddu are also given to women in labor to help ease the pain and they are also given the children who are deemed "too skinny."

These are easy to make, but I probably won't make them again until next Diwali because they are too sweet and heavy to enjoy on a regular basis. Next year Muffin will be old enough to get her hands in the dough and help shape the little balls.

Heating up the ghee.

Heating up the besan with ghee.

After the sugar and cardamom is added, shaping the dough into little balls.

A tray full of laddu.

More laddu pleeeeeeeeease!

1 comment:

lynn said...

Thank you for the post on making Ladoo. Since usually use fruit or ... in place of sugar, wondered if thats possible with this? Myabe it needs sugar to crystallize? When you say , toasting the ghee and besen together in small amounts, do you mean , keep adding to same pan or remove done ghee/besen and add more??
Thank you
Could I try this with rice flour also? Do you soak your dals or rice flour to ferment and make more digestible?



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