August 26th, 2011
Rava Laddu/Semolina Balls With Saffron, Cashews, Raisins & Cardamom
I promise you that you will be transported into another planet when you bite into one of these magical laddus! The sandy texture of the roasted semolina, the softness of the coconut, the chewy raisins and plump cashews infused with the heavenly and aromatic saffron and cardamom accentuated by sweet bursts of sugar create one of the most exotic and illustrious taste sensations ever!
Lately I had this intense craving to create the perfect rava laddu! Unfortunately, the many ladies in my family who are all experts in making it were of little help to me as they all make these laddus by andaaza (approximation) and were not able to give me exact proportions.
The two times I made it, although it tasted brilliant I had to resort to binding the mixture with milk as it had turned dry! Many folks use this method as an integral part of the recipe. Though good, the drawback is that it reduces the shelf life of the laddus.
I wanted perfectly formed laddus without the help of milk and was finally successful in achieving what exactly I wanted in my third attempt. I always thought making this was tricky but have now realized that with a little practice and correct guidance it is quite easy!
Not in a mood to make breakfast? Have these with a glass of milk or juice and some fruits! Do you want to feel elated and on top of the world while having your late afternoon or evening cuppa? Just pop one of these into your mouth! Want to pack an exotic hand made gift for a dear one? These are perfect! A celebration or festival nearby? They fit the bill perfectly!
I made these for Lord Krishna on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami (the lord’s birthday) along with a host of other delicacies! Each year I look forward to this festival as I’m in my elements trying to cook as many dishes as possible! I even went into making 108 preparations one year but the last couple of years following the birth of my baby I have just been a witness rather than an active participant in the festival!
This year we slowly started celebrating again, decorating the deity room with lots of flowers and garlands, preparing lots of treats and sharing them with friends and family and performing the abhishek at midnight to mark the appearance of the lord!
These laddus were one of the best preparations I made for this festival and now I no longer have to wait for the parcels to arrive to relish this all time favourite treat! I hope this brings to you comfort, contentment and bliss as much as it does to us!
Rava Laddu/Semolina Balls With Saffron, Cashews, Raisins & Cardamom Recipe
340 gm (2 cups) fine grained semolina (rava)
170 gm (1 cup) fresh grated coconut (you can also use frozen)
100 gm (1/2 cup) ghee (or use 1/3 cup)*
330 gm (1 1/2 cups sugar)
250 ml (1 cup) water
1/4 tsp saffron strands
7 to 8 cardamom pods, ground
In a large bowl, mix the semolina and coconut, cover and keep aside for about 1/2 hour to 2 hours.
In a wok, heat the ghee on a medium flame. After it melts, put in the semolina-coconut mixture, reduce the flame and roast until the semolina turns golden and plump, about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure not to brown the semolina by continuously stirring it on low heat. Transfer the contents to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.
Put in the sugar and water into the wok and stir on medium heat until the sugar melts. Lower the heat after the sugar melts, add the saffron strands and cook until the syrup reaches one string consistency. You can test this by putting a drop of the syrup on a plate and allowing it to cool by blowing air on it and then taking the syrup between your forefinger and thumb and pulling it apart. At first the syrup is sticky and when the syrup draws a single thread its done!
After the syrup reaches single thread consistency, turn off the flame add add the cardamom, cashews and raisins and the semolina mixture. Mix well, cover and keep aside for 20 minutes to half an hour.
When the mixture is warm, form into laddus or balls by pressing small amounts of the mixture with your palms. Store in an air tight container.
Makes 24 to 28 laddus
Points to be noted:
- Use 1/2 cup ghee for the ingredients listed above if you want a soft consistency melt in the mouth laddu. This won’t harden even when refrigerated.
- If you use less ghee, the mixture might turn too dry to form into laddus. This can be sorted by adding a few spoons of milk until the mixture is soft enough to make into laddus. But, remember this will shorten the shelf life and might need to be refrigerated. Also the laddus are not very soft, but some people might prefer this texture to the softer one.
- If the semolina is roasted well then it can be stored at room temperature for 8 to 10 days. Refrigerate it for a longer storing period.
- Keep in mind that these laddus harden after some time!