For the recent Ganesh Chathurthi, I asked the kiddo which sweet he wanted to eat that day, so that I could make it for him. “Yellow laddoo” he replied without a blink. It caught me by surprise as I did not get the usual “nothing” a characteristic reply, especially when I ask him about desserts. You see, unlike his mom, he is not a dessert person and the only dessert he loves is something which has chocolate in it like the chocolate chip cookies. And occasionally he might eat some yellow laddos aka Besan Ladoo.
I did not have the time to prepare the traditional Besan Ladoo as it was a work day for us and secondly we are trying to adjust to his new school schedule. Ever since he started his kindergarten, our weekdays have become even more hectic and packed. Along with the commute, work pressures, deadlines, house related stuff we now have to make time for his homework, reading journal and other extracurricular activities.
Not that I am complaining, but I am sure that as days go by we will adjust to the new routine and things will fall into place. For that day, however I did not have the heart to refuse his request and decided to make these Laddos in the microwave, quick and easy way.
Recipe Source: Bhaatukli’s Besan Ladoo
Makes: 9-12 medium ladoos
- 1 cup Besan flour (Gram flour/ Chickpea flour)
- 6 Tbsp Ghee (Clarified butter) [add more as required if unable to form laddos]
- 1 cup sugar (Powdered or fine sugar)
- 4-5 cardamom pods (skinned and powdered)
Note: Make sure that you are using a good quality of ghee; else the laddos will not have good flavor.
- Take a microwave safe bowl and add the Besan flour/gram flour and add 2 Tbsp of the melted ghee. Microwave this for about 2 minutes.
- Take it out and stir it well, add 2 more Tbsp of ghee and microwave for another 2 more minutes.
- Continue for couple of minutes more until it gets a dark yellow to brownish color. At this time you will begin to smell the wonderful aroma of the toasted besan waffling through.
- Note: Making sure that the besan is correctly cooked, is an important step. If it is undercooked, then it will leave an odd after taste and if it is overcooked then it will taste bitter.
- If you feel that it is dry, add a tablespoon more of ghee and cook for a minute. After the gram flour is toasted well, keep aside to cool.
- When it is still lukewarm add the cardamom powder and mix well.
- Next add the sugar to this and mix it very well. I prefer using hands as I feel I am able to control it better. I mix it from anywhere between 3-7 minutes so that the sugar blends in.
- Take small amount in your hands and try to shape them in the form of laddos. Garnish with raisin (optional).
- Note: if you are not able to make the balls as they are not holding together, then ad little more ghee and warm it.
Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is called Poha in Hindi, Avalakki in Kannada, Atukulu in Telugu and Aval in Tamil. In India, Poha/ Flattened rice is easily available and is usually associated with simplicity. Poha is considered a favorite of Lord Krishna and so this sweet dish is usually prepared on the occasion of Krishna Janamashathami.
Simple, divine and earthy are the trademarks of this Sweet Poha. Even though there are only four ingredients Poha, jaggery, coconut, cardamom, people prepare this in hundred different ways. Some heat the jaggery and coconut while others do not, some do not wet the poha, and some do not mix coconut jiggery together …you get the idea. I pretty much follow my ma-in-law’s recipe which is common in the Konkani households. This is also called as “Kaleyle Pohvu” in Konkani. Since we do not heat the jaggery and add the poha this is comparatively dry compared to the other south Indian versions.
If you are looking for some savory Indian recipes using Poha then, here are some:
- 2 cups Poha (thin flakes)
- 3/4 cup jaggery/gud/bella (powdered)
- 3/4 cup shredded fresh coconut ( + ¼ cup for topping)
- 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 10-15 cashews bits
- 10-15 raisins
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- Note: It is best to use fresh coconut for this as it has its own juice. The frozen ones are dry and do not have moisture.
- Make sure the jaggery is fully powdered and there are no lumps in it.
- Heat a small skillet and dry roast sesame seeds till it turns light brown and sputters. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same skillet heat ghee and add cashews, fry until light brown and then add the raisins until it plumps.
- Take a big steel bowl and mix the coconut and jaggery together by using hands. Keep aside for 30 minutes. After a while you will notice that the jaggery has melted and there is thick liquid.
- Take the poha in another bowl and sprinkle some water over it, mix it using hands, turning it around evenly. Sprinkle more as required. (Make sure there is no excess water).
- Note: I do not soak the poha, just wet it sufficiently and I let the liquid from jaggery seep into the soaked poha.
- Now add this wet poha, cardamom powder, 1 tsp melted ghee to the jaggery coconut mixture and mix well. Set aside stirring in between.
- Add the roasted sesame seeds, fried cashews, raisins and mix well.
- Finally add ¼ cup shredded coconut for garnish and some color.
Chivda is a popular snack of Maharashtra and North Karnataka usually made of flattened rice/poha. It is then spiced with masala and jazzed up with other ingredients like peanuts, raisins, cashews etc.
When we talk about chivda, usually the picture of poha chivda comes to mind. But this chivda/mixture is made of Corn Poha. Please note that I am not referring either to the frozen corn or corn flakes (cereal). This Corn Poha is available in the Indian stores right and is usually placed next to the regular poha. It is yellow in color and is bigger, puffed than the regular poha.
This corn poha does not absorb oil like the regular poha chivda. I prefer this over the regular poha chivda. I also prefer the deep fried version rather than the toasted or the micro wave version and it does not have the real taste. There are tons of ways of making it, but this is how my Mom makes it and I usually follow this method.
The credit for these pictures goes to DH. He is an avid photographer but thanks to some pestering from certain somebody he has been showing interest in food photography.
- 2 cups Corn Poha/Pressed Maize
- ½ cup Peanuts/ Groundnuts
- 2 tsp Fennel seeds
- Cashews/raisins (optional)
- Oil for Deep frying
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- A pinch citric acid (optional)
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Salt to taste
- Masala Powder: In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the Masala Powder. Check taste and adjust ingredients as needed. This has to be strong as this will be spread over the fried poha.
- Note: I prefer not to deep fry the cashews, raisins and fennel seeds. So for this take a small pan, heat about 1 Tbsp of oil and fry peanuts until light brown and crispy. Keep side. Then fry the curry leaves, cashews, raisins and fennel seeds. Mix them all together and keep aside.
- Now deep fry the corn poha. Heat oil in a big deep frying pan over medium heat. Keep all the things needed for deep frying handy. Also keep a big plate covered with paper towel.
- Divide the Corn Poha so that it can be fried in 3-4 batches. First put in about 4-5 of them and see if they puff up, if it does then it has reached the right temperature.
- Deep fry the first batch and transfer to the plate. Use more papers as required to drain the oil.
- Take about 1 tsp of the masala powder and sprinkle over the fried corn poha and mix well. The masala should be added to poha when it is hot as it sticks better.
- Next deep fry the next batch of corn poha, transfer to the plate and sprinkle another spoon of masala and mix well. Repeat until the poha is finished and mix well.
- Add the fried cashews, raisins, curry leaves, fennel seeds to this. Add the masala powder more as needed and mix.
- Note: You can also add some readymade savory sev and savory boondi to this.
- Let this cool and then store in dry airtight containers.