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.
If you are looking for a rice recipe that is easy to prepare, rich in taste, aromatic and crowd pleasing then Ghee Rice is right for you. Generous use of ghee (clarified butter) along with cashews, raisins makes this dish rich and festive. This pairs well with a spicy gravy based side dish.
Few weeks ago we had some friends for dinner and this was one of our menu items. The credit for preparing this rice dish goes to DH. He is a good cook, who has a knack for cooking without taking any short cuts. While I chicken out when the recipe calls for lavish amount of ghee/butter, cashews etc, he thrives on such recipes and does a good job.
Please do not substitute ghee with oil for this recipe and the flavor will be lost. This goes well along with spicy vegetable kurma.
- 2 cups Basmati Rice (raw)
- 15-20 Cashew nuts
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 15-20 raisins
- 4-5 pieces of Cinnamon ( 1 inch stick )
- ½ cup onion (peeled and cut lengthwise) [optional]
- 5-10 cloves
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- 2-3 cardamom pods (crushed and skin removed)
- 3 Tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
- Salt per taste
- 1 tsp oil
- Wash the rice thoroughly and soak this in enough water for about 1 hour.
- Drain the water and then cook the rice in about 3 ½ cups of water along with 2-3 cloves, 1 tsp cumin seeds, little salt and oil. (Note: The grains should be separate and not overcooked).
- After the rice is cooked, spread it on a big plate and allow it to cool. Use a wooden spoon to spread it around that way the rice won’t break.
- Heat a big pan and then add the Ghee, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon stick, crushed cardamom pods.
- Add the chopped onion and cook until it is transparent. Add little more ghee iif required.
- Then add the cashews and cook until they are light brown. Add the raisins and cook until they plump up.
- Add the cooked rice and toss it around. Do not over mix or stir a lot as the rice will break. Cover with lid on low fame until everything incorporates. Serve with spicy vegetable kurma.