Festive Recipe – Traditional Besan Laddu


 

There is no mithai more soul satisfying than perfectly made besan laddoos. I make the rawa – besan laddoos and besan barfi too but these remain my first choice. Over the years I have perfected the texture and taste of these laddoos so sharing my recipe.

Use of home made tagar or boora is the secret to the goodness of these laddoos. If I am unable to make tagar at home I go for organic, chemical free pure bura/boora. Powdered granular sugar is no match to this and isn’t used in the original prasad laddoos.

My mother is from Banaras and she fondly remembers the Sankatmochan laddoos. The subtle flavor of those besan laddoos have a mild fragrance of  tulsi ( Holy Basil) leaves which are kept along with the prasad in a palm leaf box. Usually when I make them I keep a few tulsi leaves in the box in which I store the laddoos. Just for sentimental reasons.

If you have been to Sankatmochan Mandir then these will bring back the memories for sure. Though every place has its unique experience and no laddoos can taste like the ones you get there, these come close to having the real ones. Maybe it the essence of the place that makes them very special. Do visit the mandir once at least. Everyone should experience Banaras at least once in a lifetime.

The last time I tasted Sankatmochan laddu was in March 2016, at the Banaras ka khana – showcase, a food festival at the Oberoi Hotel, Gurgaon, curated by Sangeeta khanna along with Chef Manish Sharma, Chef Ravitej Nath and team. An unforgettable experience.

I also prefer the laddoos to be mildly sweet. Too much sugar, in my opinion, masks the flavor of roasted besan. It is a personal choice. I used organic, desi, chemical free Bura in this recipe.

Ingredients : 

Chickpea flour / besan ( the coarse variety) – 300 gm

Bura Cheeni / Crystalline sugar / tagar – 150 – 200 gm

Green cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

Ghee / Clarified butter –  150 gm ( just enough for binding)

A few Holy basil / Tulsi leaves

Steps : 

Choose a coarse variety of besan ( mota besan) to make laddoos. It gives them a good grainy texture.

Heat a thick base kadhai and lower the flame. Add besan and dry roast it till it changes color slightly. Keep stirring to avoid burning.

Add the ghee and mix it properly. Roast on low- medium flame. As you keep stirring you will notice the changes in the mixture. It will be crumbly at first then loosen up a bit as it gets roasted. The color will change to different shades of brown from the golden yellow it was. I prefer slightly more roasted laddoos. The ones  we get in the market are lighter in color. The aroma is an indicator of a well roasted besan ghee mixture. There is no word to explain it other than khamang or sondha. I hope you know what I mean.

Make sure the flame is low or the besan will either burn or get extra roasted which we do not want at any coast. Once you get the desired color, add the boora cheeni and the green cardamom powder.

Gently mix everything and roast for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the gas and take out the mixture in a broad thali or parat or plate. You can add the tulsi leaves at this point like I did but it is not essential. I just experimented due to sheer nostalgia. Don’t bind them in laddoos.

Let the mixture become cool enough to handle and quickly make the laddoos of desired size. I make them walnut size or bite size as I call them.

If the mixture begins to solidify you can heat it again to allow ghee to melt for binding. Warm mixture binds well.

Make all the laddoos and store in an airtight container along with some tulsi leaves.

I forgot to click the step by step pictures but will add soon when the next batch is made. Will try and make tagar / boora at home and will post the recipe. 

You can add dry fruits like finely chopped almonds, raisins etc. I prefer them without any added stuff but do make some for those who prefer that.  These were made a few months back with raisins. Smaller than the walnut size I make as i noticed the familia breaking the bigger ones into half and eating. So, for small hungers. 🙂

 

On that note, Happy festivities to all my readers. Stay blessed and loved. Ignore the bad photography skills. Make these and trust me all you will ever remember is the taste.

 

 

Making Gram Flour and Fresh Coconut Fudge ( Besan Nariyal Barfi)


I love Indian sweets and besan laddoo and barfi  are my favorites. If you love the aroma of roasted gram flour and the divine taste of fresh coconut you will love this barfi. It is simple to make and can be stored for a longtime.  Gram flour and Coconut are both healthy ingredients and the recipe doesn’t use much fat. I like my barfi and laddoos to be a little crumbly but not dry.

To make the Barfi you will need :

Coarse gram flour – 1 cup ( the fine variety isnt good for the sweets. Corse one gives a good grainy texture)

Fresh desiccated coconut or coconut powder – 1 cup

Green cardamom – 4 (peeled and seeds grounded fine)

Raisins – 1/4 cup

Boora Cheeni –  3/4 to 1 Cup  ( I like to use Boora Cheeni for its texture and flavour. You can use granulated or powdered sugar too)

Almonds – shredded for garnish (optional)

Ghee (Clarified Butter) –  Approx 6 table spoons

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Method

First grate the fresh coconut ( if using it) and keep aside. Take the coarsely ground gram flour and dry roast till  slight brown. Slow heat is recommended. Add cardamom powder at this time. ( If you don’t have coarse variety then add two tablespoon of roasted semolina)

Once done take it out in a bowl and keep aside. Now dry roast the coconut very carefully till it changes color to slightly brown. Remove in a bowl.

Take the ghee and pour it in a non stick pan. When it heats up a little fold in the gram flour and keep stirring till a nice roasted aroma begins to fill the air.

Add the coconut to it at this point and keep stirring . Keep it on very low heat to avoid burning.

Once the mixture is smoothly browned ( I like it slightly darker and roasted well) add sugar. ( You can make syrup and add but not with boora cheeni. I never use sugar syrup and I don’t like to add water to the mixture)

Stir in the sugar, breaking all the lumps in the process.

Turn off the heat, add the raisins and pour the mixture in a greased square plate ( I didn’t have it so used a round one) . You can line the plate with greased aluminium foil like I did.

Let it set for an hour or till it becomes firm to cut.

Cut it in whichever shape you wish and store in an air tight box.

You can garnish the barfi with pistachios or shredded almonds. (I prefer not to garnish. It masks the heavenly flavour of the barfi IMO)

Enjoy!