November 30th, 2012
I had every intention to put this recipe up just before Diwali since I had many requests for this laddu recipe especially after this post. I was travelling this Diwali which is very unusual considering that I love to have all the traditional pujas and festivities at home. But the travel to Chennai couldnt be avoided and after the important occasion for which we were there was over, we proceeded to Pondicherry for a short vacation.
So, this Diwali meant that I did not get to wear my kanjeevaram saree, light my entire home with lights, have the Lakshmi and the Govardhan Puja and make the number of food preparations I had in my mind. But, I did manage to make these Besan laddus to carry with me and managed to shoot the pictures just before I left for the post to be up on Diwali eve.
But life had other plans and there were quite a few events to attend and me falling sick and not being my usual self didnt help either. Since my inlaws also travelled to Chennai from Bangalore we had a small puja with arati in our hotel room and ate these Besan laddus along with the sweets my mother-in-law brought (no Diwali is complete for me without savouring one of my favourite sweets, Kaju Kathri or Cashewnut Burfi).
I thought I have to put this very special recipe up today under any circumstances, before I got into the Christmas and New Year mood of cookies and cakes.
I call this special because this recipe comes from my grandmother who has been known in our family to make the best besan laddus. My grandmother with the help of family members made 1500 besan laddus for my mother’s wedding in 1978. I must admit that it is a bit difficult and requires a certain amount of skill, expertise and practice to master, but once done it is a mouthful of heaven in every bite. The secret to this recipe is ofcourse the proportion and the right amount of roasting the besan flour in the ghee. You under roast it and you get light coloured laddus with less flavour and you over do it and run the risk of burning the flour.
The aromas that waft through the air while making it, the deep golden coloured soft texture of the laddus accentuated by the raisins and the scent of the cardamom makes this a surreal experience. I’m quite surprised with the fact that I’m so fascinated with the laddus I never liked as a child. But now its a different story as I love to feed, eat and above all make them.
Surprisingly Hari does not have an aversion to these laddus and so they travelled with me to Pondicherry as part of my snack arrangement for those “just in case” moments when you are travelling with a child. In Pondicherry, we stayed in an eco resort where I milked a cow in the organic farm, ate some great food and revelled in a natural environment and considering that it was a short stay, a resolve to get there again.
Besan Laddu Recipe
It is very important to roast the flour correctly
110 gm (1/2 cup) pure ghee (preferably organic)
175 gm (1 cup) besan (chickpea) flour + 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup extra flour
140 gm (1 cup) icing sugar or powdered sugar
seeds of 4 cardamom, crushed
8 to 10 cashews, broken into bits (optional)
2 tbsp raisins
Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed wok or kadhai and put in the chickpea flour and roast on low flame for about 30 to 35 minutes until golden in colour and the entire kitchen is filled with the beautiful aroma of the golden roasted chickpea flour.
Initially, the ghee absorbs all the chickpea flour and bubbles appear on the surface and later on assumes a liquid consistency. This is the tricky stage, which occurs after 20 to 25 minutes after the start of the roasting when we need to put in the extra 1/4 cup of the flour.
Soon after you put in the extra flour, bubbles start to appear on the surface again. If the mixture looks liquidy then we need to put in an extra tablespoon or two of the chickpea flour and cook for a few minutes more, 2 to 3 minutes.
It is important to keep stirring all the while to prevent the besan or chickpea flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Take of the heat and add the cashews and raisins. Allow to cool completely.
It is necessary to keep stirring the besan mixture even after taking off the heat as the besan continues to cook with the ghee until completely cool.
After the prepared mixture is cool, stir in the cardamom and sugar and form into laddus.
Makes approximately 24 small laddus.