Diwali Special – Roasted Whole Wheat And Green Gram (Moong) Ladoos


No Indian festival is complete without sweets. There is a tradition to make special sweets for each festival but on Diwali one can indulge in a whole variety of them. Winter is time for healthy ladoos made from either whole wheat or gram flour. There are many varieties to make Whole wheat flour (atta) ladoos. I prefer to make them as healthy as possible with just enough clarified butter (pure ghee) to hold everything together so people of all ages can enjoy it. One can use shakkar, boora cheeni or khandsari to make these. I prefer boora cheeni because it is less sweet than normal granular sugar and healthier too.

These ladoos can be stored in air tight box for a long time and can be eaten everyday. The dry fruits and the goodness of green gram adds to the flavor of these balls of good nutrition. Green Gram is low fat protein, high fiber, low Gly-Cemic bean which helps in stabilizing sugar in blood stream. It is also a rich source of iron, vitamin B6/ B1, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin C and E and also calcium which makes it a super food. One can give these to children as snacks everyday.

Now, for the recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup whole green gram beans

1/2 cup mixed dry fruits ( raisins, shredded walnut, blanched and shredded almonds)

Clarified butter 9 pure ghee) – enough to hold everything together ( usually 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup (according to taste) Boora cheeni or powder sugar or castor sugar

1 tea spoon cardamom powder

Method :

In a heavy bottom cast iron wok dry roast the moong beans till slightly golden brown. Keep the flame very low.

Grind the roasted beans very fine in a grinder. (I used the grinding stone)

Keep the dry fruit mixture , boora cheeni and ground moong beans ready.

Now put the wok back on low flame and add whole wheat flour to it. Dry roast it slowly. This is a tedious job and one needs to constantly keep stirring the flour especially in the middle or else it will start burning. Always keep the flame very low. Roasting atta is like a sensuous passionate love making. No Indian sweet can be made without complete devotion and love. These are the ingredients which make them so mouth watering. Once the aroma of roasted atta begins to fill your senses and the color is nice and brown add the ground moong bean powder to it. Roast a little more till you get a warm light brown color.

Atta is always dry roasted unlike gram flour.

Once the wheat flour is done, remove from heat and quickly add boora cheeni. It will begin to stick to the wok so keep stirring constantly and make sure there are no lumps. Add clarified butter (pure ghee) at this stage and keep mixing.

After the mixture is nicely done add the dry fruits.

One has to make the ladoos when the mixture is warm otherwise it will start solidifying.  Make medium size balls by rolling them in your palm. Make sure there are no cracks and the balls are smooth. put a raisin on top as garnish. Place all ladoos in a thali / plate and let them cool.

Enjoy these wonderful nutritious low fat ladoos and store the rest of them in air tight box.

Have a wonderful healthy happy Deepawali. Stay blessed.

Recipe: Butter Chicken : The Gastronomical Delight of India


Butter Chicken can be easily called the National Dish of India as far as non vegetarian cuisine goes. Sinfully laced with oodles of butter, rich cream, thick tomato gravy and spices, this Indian gastronomical delight is extremely popular all over the country and even abroad.

Butter chicken was “invented” at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi in the 1950’s.

Tandoori chicken, cooked in famous tandoors (clay ovens embedded in earth) brought to Delhi and other cities by Hindu refugees fleeing from the Northwest Punjab after the creation of West Pakistan, is the main ingredient of this dish. Butter chicken is actually made with leftover tandoori chicken, cut into small pieces, and simmered in a rich, creamy sauce of tomatoes, butter and spices topped up with extra cream.

Being a hotelier’s wife I have some advantages and this is a personal recipe for this mouthwatering delicacy.

BUTTER CHICKEN

For the Marinade:

800 grams of chicken cut into pieces (preferably boneless)

1 tablespoon thick yogurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin and red chili powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ginger, garlic paste

Salt to taste

A few drops of edible orange-red color

For the Gravy

4 large tomatoes chopped [blanched and finely chopped]

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 cup cashew nut paste

2 tsp ginger garlic paste

2 green chilies finely chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh cream

1 teaspoon each of coriander, cumin, red chili powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

Salt and sugar to taste

Melted butter, fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

Method

Prick holes and make cuts in the chicken pieces. Mix well the ingredients for the marinade and rub into the chicken pieces. Let it marinate for a few hours, overnight if possible for best results.

Heat half the butter on medium level in a heavy-bottomed pan and put in the chicken along with the marinade. Cover and cook for about 25 minute(s) or till the chicken is fully cooked. After the liquids have evaporated, stir fry the chicken for some time in the residual fat.

For gravy

Heat the remaining butter in a saucepan and add onion and green chilies. Fry for a few minutes.

Add the ginger garlic paste mix well now add little water and red chilly, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder mix well

Add chopped tomatoes and cook well now add cashew nut paste and season with sugar, salt and cook uncovered on medium level for about 5 minutes till the puree thickens and the fat separates.

Stir in the beaten cream and reduce the heat to low.

Add the chicken Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the curry is thoroughly heated through.

Check for seasoning.

Just before serving pour melted butter over the curry. Garnish with a swirl of fresh cream and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy with fresh rice or Parathas (Fried Indian flat bread)