Laddus are the ultimate indulgence—these little treats can resemble timbits, but pack a completely unique taste. Chock-full of energy, sweetness, and Indian-flavoured goodness, laddus are a staple of any Indian festival or celebration. However, not all laddus are created equal. There are many varieties native to the different regions of India, all equally tasty. Pamper your taste buds and sweeten your soul with a taste of one of these variations.
Rava Laddu: A South Indian Sensation
About 1 hour
Makes 12-15 balls
1 cup semolina (fine or medium)
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup Ghee or butter
2 Tbsp milk (as needed)
A pinch of cardamom powder
10 cashews, coarsely chopped
10 raisins or dried cranberries
¼ – ½ cup grated coconut (un-sweetened)
Roast the cashews and raisins in two teaspoons of Ghee or butter until the raisins puff up. Remove from pan and set aside. Toast the coconut on a dry pan over medium heat but be careful not to burn it! Set aside once lightly toasted.
Dry-roast the semolina over medium heat, constantly stirring for about five minutes. Try to avoid too much browning, and if it starts to brown, turn the heat down. Add the ghee and combine over the heat for two to three minutes.
Remove from heat and combine the sugar, spices, nuts, raisins, and coconut with the heated semolina. Slowly add milk (you can substitute water) until the mixture starts to hold together. It should be dry, but solid. Only add enough liquid tothe required amount to be able to pack the mixture into balls. If necessary, put the mixture back on the heat to bring out the shape.
Cool the mixture enough so you can touch it (but not too much or you will never get the proper consistency to mold it). Shape into golf-ball sized lumps and set out on a plate to set properly. Store your laddus at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as it will cause the ghee or butter to separate.
Note: this recipe can be altered to your tastes. For a low-fat version, simply add less butter and/or sugar.
Besan laddu: A North Indian Indulgence
About 45 minutes
Makes 12-15 balls
2 cups gram flour (besan or chick pea flour, try to get fine grind)
1 ½ cups sugar (or to taste)
1 cup Ghee or butter
1 tsp almonds
1 tsp pistachios
1 tsp cashews
1 tsp raisins or cranberries, chopped
Toast the gram flour, until slightly brown, constantly stirring over medium heat. This step is crucial. It can take up to 10 minutes, but be patient.
Add the ghee or butter and stir until thoroughly mixed. Keep on heat for about two minutes. The mixture should be wet, but not overly runny.
Add the sugar and chopped nuts and stir until completely mixed. Again, the mixture should be dry, but moist enough to form balls. If needed, correct the texture with more ghee or more toasted gram.
Shape into golf-sized balls and store at room temperature. These little packets of energy will keep at room temperature for several months.