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.
Watch how to make Besan Laddus in the video below-
Wish you all a very happy Deepavali (2015).
Besan Laddu Recipe
It is very important to roast the flour correctly in this recipe. You over roast it and you run the risk of burning the flour and if you under roast the flour, you will have light coloured laddus with no flavour in it.
220 gm (1 cup) pure ghee (preferably organic)
250 gm (2 cups) besan (chickpea) flour + 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup extra besan flour
8 to 10 cashews, broken into bits (optional)
2 tbsp raisins
280 gm (2 cup) icing sugar or powdered sugar
seeds of 8 cardamom, crushed to a fine powder
Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed wok or kadhai and put in the chickpea flour and roast on low flame for about 20 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. When the besan is nicely roasted in the ghee and is a golden brown colour and just before it starts to burn is the tricky stage, which occurs after 20 to 25 minutes after the start of the roasting. This is when we need to put in the extra 1/2 cup to 2/3rd cup besan 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, 8 to 10 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 off 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. If you find that the besan mixture is a little loose, then you can put in some more sugar to get a thick consistency to form the laddus.
A few pointers for making great besan laddus-
- The roasting time is dependent on several factors- The quality of the chickpea flour and the thickness of the utensil in which it is roasted are prime determinants of the time required for cooking these laddus.
- You need to keep stirring the besan mixture after you take it off the heat as the besan continues to cook for a few minutes even after you take it is off the heat.
- Stir in the sugar powder, only after the roasted besan is completely cool.
Makes approximately 48 small laddus.
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