Food is a big part of any festival anywhere in the world. Food joins us as a community. It is that one thread that connects us all. As the festivities begin this year so does the cooking in every house. Special dishes, heirloom recipes and love of family is what makes each of the dish prepared during a festival so special.
Starting with #FestiveSeries I will be covering basic holiday cooking as much as possible. Beginning with the simple Besan Ladoo.
Ladoo or Laddu is a mixture of three things flour, ghee or clarified butter and sugar. The origins of ladoo are found since 4th century BC where it was used for medicinal purposes. Jaggery or honey was the main source of sweetener. But when British bought in Sugar, the Indian sweet game changed drastically.
Besan ladoo is a very popular dessert and each state has its own way of doing it. Some make it pretty dense and smooth, some which are made with coarse chickpea flour have a textural crunch to it. Once you know the basics you can make it accordingly. The texture depends on the consistency of the chickpea flour. If you get the regular packaged flour, it is fine milled, but if in India, and you head out to any “banya” or special shops selling flours, you will find a coarse milled chickpea flour which is perfect for this ladoo. Second important ingredient is the sugar, I tried this with brown sugar and regular caster sugar. I feel the caster works best. Though traditionally they use “tagar” which is melting the sugar till it reaches the crystallise state, which once taken off the heat and stirred turns into solid particles of sugar. Tagar can also be found at the specialty local shops. I used regular caster sugar though my next try is going to be jaggery. The third ingredient Ghee or clarified butter is readily available.
- 250 grams coarse besan/chickpea flour
- 100 grams ghee
- 120 grams caster sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 10 to 15 chopped almonds
- In a deep bottom pan, heat the ghee.
- Once the ghee is melted, add chickpea flour. Stirring constantly roast the flour on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes till the flour changes colour or till the flour releases the fat.
- Once the flour has released the fat, add a splash of water and stir. The water is blended to add a slight crunch.
- Add the almonds and stir it for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Take it off the heat, add cardamom powder and mix.
- Let it cool down till its warm, add the sugar and mix with hand.
- Take a handful of the mixture and roll it in between your palm and fingers to form a round ball.
- Besan ladoos have a long shelf life, so you can store in room temperature for a week.