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.

 

 

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Cooking With Millets – Recipe – Jowar Ke Laddu ( Sorghum Flour Laddoo)


I have decided to do a few posts with one of the millets as a main ingredient. Millets were once part of our daily food routine but then the usage of these traditional grains slowly dwindled away as rice and wheat took over. With recent studies about rice especially polished rice and increase in gluten intolerance a lot of people are going back to cooking with millets like finger millet, pearl millet, sama etc.for healthy living. The humble grain that was always stereotyped as food for underprivileged is now making it to the health food racks of super stores. I am glad that for whatever reason ,at least the millets are back and it is a good sign. I am reading and learning more about them as I experiment more with each one.

Millets are far more nutrition dense than rice or wheat. One can pound/grind them into flour or pop them to make delicious dishes. Their use is not limited to make rotis or flatbread. They are rich in magnesium so a good choice for those with diabetics. They also have high levels of calcium, folic acid, dietary fiber, zinc, iron, B vitamins esp niacin and B6 among other things. Easy to digest, they can be eaten by all age groups.

I have started using millet flour for making pancakes, muffins, breads,  flatbread, dosa, laddus, idlis, paisam ( with sama) etc. The whole grains like bajra I use for khichadi, upma, Ragi ( finger millet) as a health drink in milk is one of my favorites. As I earlier said, the use of millets is not limited to rotis these days. I use mixed millet flour in winters to make theplas, rotis, bhakris etc.

Jowar flour ( sorghum flour) Laddus (laddoo)

Diwali is round the corner and I am making some healthy mithai these days in small quantity everyday. Today’s special is Jowar Laddoos or Sorghum flour laddoos. I used to make multi grain indian style granola or panjeeri every winter in large amount but now I make a little. I feel these laddus are more convenient to carry around and boys like them. Though the besan laddu remains a favorite  along with the wheat flour + green gram or moong bean laddu.

The good thing here is the use of unrefined organic jaggery granules which I bought from I Say Organics. Usually I use the organic flour too. Jaggery adds to the nutritive value along with dates, and a mixed bag of nuts, and seeds. You can add them as per your liking. Use of jaggery also ensures less use of fat 9 ghee) as binding agent so these are low-fat laddus.

You can use jowar pops and flour both for these. It take just about 15 minutes to make 10-15 laddus.You can use palm jaggery or the sugarcane jaggery. I use both depending on availability. The laddoos are good source of iron and that’s why highly recommended for women.

Ingredients:

Jowar ( Sorghum ) flour – 1/2 cup

Jaggery – 1/2 cup

dates –  chopped roughly 2 tablespoon

sesame seed (white ) 1 tablespoon

mixed nuts – walnuts, almonds, peanuts

Raisins – 1 tablespoon

Seeds – melon seeds or magaz – 1 tablespoon

Ghee – 2 -3 tablespoon

Method –

If you are using Jowar grains then you will need to pop them first. Heat a pan well and toss a handful of grains. Never crowd a pan for roasting grains. They won’t get roasted evenly and might get burnt too. A quarter cup of raw grain will give you a cup of popped grain so measure and use accordingly.

Alternately use the jowar flour which is easily available in winter all over India.

In a heavy bottom non stick pan dry roast the flour on slow heat. Never hurry with these things. Good dish requires patience and passion.

Once the flour starts to give out a roasted aroma and turns slightly brown remove it from the heat and keep aside.

Dry roast all the nuts and seeds separatly. Chop the dates roughly. If you are using jaggery blocks then grate or pound them a bit.

Now, In a grinder add the roasted nuts,seeds, raisins and dates and the jaggery. Grind till everything mixes into a smooth guey texture.

In a bowl , spoon the roasted jowar flour and this mixture. Mix it with your fingers. Actually rub it in.

Now heat the ghee. Once it is hot just pour it over the mixture and mix thoroughly. Quickly make lemon size balls and keep in a plate.

Your delicious power packed laddoos are ready. Let them cool and then enjoy the earthy flavours.

You can store them in air tight containers and eat one or two everyday. Children love it so encourage them to have these healthy sweets. You can carry them in your bag while travelling.

Enjoy something healthy this diwali. 

Carrot Fudge ( Gajar Ki Barfi) – Recipe


Summer is fast approaching in North India and the winter vegetables are disappearing from the markets. Fortunately the red juicy local carrots are still sweet to eat and readily available. I love sweets and carrot halwa is one of my all time favorite winter dessert but this time I wanted to do something different. After the success of besan burfi I decided to make carrot barfi. Barfi is mainly made from milk, ghee and sugar and has a lot of variations like kaju barfi, badam barfi, besan barfi and coconut burfi etc. The carrot and doodhi (bottle gourd) burfis are nutritious and have a delicious taste.

This particular soft burfi (fudge) is low on fat and sugar as the carrots were naturally sweet and barfi usually takes less ghee (clarified butter) than the traditional halwa.  Carrots are packed with nutrition and are full of vitamin A and antioxidants. Totally a powerfood.  Full of flavor and goodness of carrots this classic sweet is simple and easy to make.

We will need – 

Carrots – 1/2 kg

Sugar- 1 cup ( you can add sugar to taste depending on the sweetness of the carrots)

Ghee ( Clarified Butter) – 4 table spoon full

Green Cardamom Powder – 1 teaspoon

Raisins – 4 table spoons

Shredded Almonds – 4 tablespoons

Milk (Full Cream) – 1/2 Kg

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Method –

Select carrots which are thin and have less of yellow central part. I use the red local carrots and not the English ones but you can choose the ones available in your market.

Wash, peel and grate the carrots.

In a heavy bottom pan heat the milk and when it comes to boil add the grated carrots.

Let it boil for a minute then put it on simmer.

Let the mixture cook till it thickens and the milk is nicely absorbed. Slow cooking will turn the milk into khoya like texture so there won’t be any need for adding khoya.

Once all the milk is absorbed add sugar and continue to stir to avoid burning the mixture. Keep the heat at medium to low. The sugar will make the mixture a bit liquidy so let all the water evaporate.

Once the mixture is free of all liquid add ghee and stir. Let it cook in ghee at slow heat till the mixture starts to leave ghee from the sides.

At this point add cardamom powder, half of the shredded almonds and the raisins. Stir them well.

Take a tray or small cake tin and line it with foil or grease it properly.

Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture into the tray or tin. Smoothen it properly and sprinkle the remaining shredded almonds on top for garnish.

Let it set for at least two to three hours. You can keep the tray in the fridge too.

Once the mixture is set properly cut it into the desired shape ( square, rectangle or diamond ).

Remove the pieces on to a plate and serve. Unlike the halwa the burfi is eaten cold. You can add shredded pistachios or put silver vark if desired.

The beautiful and delicious orange-red burfi is ready to eat.

ps- The slideshow doesn’t show pictures in order . Sorry about that. Do follow the steps in the recipe. 🙂

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.