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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Besan Suji Ladoo / Festive Cooking


Diwali is just around the corner and one can feel the festivity in the air. All the streets , lanes and markets are flooded with colorful lights and flowers. Homes and offices are being cleaned , renovated and decorated. Beautiful rangoli designs and toran adorn the home entrances. Shopping is in full swing and the homes smell heavenly with the aroma of Diwali Faral (the home-made diwali special sweets and savories). 

For my readers who are not much aware of this festival and its significance , Diwali is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism. It spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness , good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest , new moon night of Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up Diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi- the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets) and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends.  Source : Wikipedia


This five day festival is celebrated to commemorate the occasion of Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya after defeating the evil Ravana and starts with the celebration of Vasu Baras which is then followed by Dhanteras , Narak Chaturdashi, Lakshmi Poojan , Padwa or Balipratipada and lastly, Bhai Duj.

Today is Vasu Baras, a festival celebrated one day before the five day festivity of Diwali begins. The day is recognised for honouring cows and calves and is celebrated on the twelfth light day of Krishna Paksha of Ashwin calendar month . 'Vasu' means cow and 'Baras' means the twelfth day, hence the word Vasu Baras. 


Today is Monday too which means, we are back with another week of "FoodieMondayBlogHop and our theme for this #114thweek is obviously #Diwali and my contribution to this theme is the traditional Besan Suji Ladoo. 
Besan Sooji ladoo or the rava besan ladoo is a traditional Indian festive sweet made from chickpea flour and semolina. This is a Maharashtrian dessert typically prepared on festivals like Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi. There are many ways of making this ladoo. It can be made with sugar syrup or by simply adding powdered sugar to the roasted flours. I am sharing the recipe i have learnt from my dear Aai ( Mother in Law ). This is her signature dish. The ladoos are delicious and just melt in the mouth types. The speciality of this ladoos is that they use edible gum and desiccated coconut also along with the chickpea flour and suji. The recipe is simple and does not need any sugar syrup so is fuss free and even beginners can try their hands on this recipe as no skill is required in watching the correct sugar consistency in this case. The ladoos are sweetened using normal powdered sugar and the routine chickpea flour. They are flavored with cardamom powder and Saffron.

                         

The ladoos stay good for about 10-15 days at room temperature. They serve as a good option during travel journeys and as a healthy snack for kids apart from being festive treats. The quantity of ingredients used here give approx 1 dozen medium sized ladoos. The recipe can be easily doubled. The only thing which may bother some of you about this ladoos , is the time required for roasting the chickpea flour. I know when everyone is looking for shortcuts and easy microwave method recipes, i chose to stick to this old , laborious and time consuming recipe. The reason is very clear..they say old is gold and it applies to this method. The roasting of the chickpea flour in ghee on low flame not only adds in to the texture and color of the ladoo, but also fills your home with a pleasant aroma and trust me when the ladoos just melt in your mouth with every bite , it is worth the time and efforts taken. (Well for those who are in short of time and do not have patience can follow the easy methods and roast the flour in a microwave in comparatively less amount of ghee.  
   

  Preparation time : 15 minutes
  Cooking time: 15 minutes
  Serves : 1 dozen

  Ingredients : Measurements used 1 cup = 200 ml
  • 1 cup Chickpea flour / besan
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina / suji
  • 1/4 cup edible gum
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 -2 tablespoon milk
  • Few strands of saffron
  • 3-4 pods of cardamom
  • 1/2 cup ghee / clarified butter


Method:
  1. Dry roast the suji in a wok on medium flame until aromatic. Remove and keep in a plate. In a small bowl take Luke warm milk( 1-2 tbsp) and add few strands of saffron to it. Keep aside until use.


  2. Powder the edible gum in a grinder jar and keep aside until use.



  3. In the same wok add ghee and chickpea flour and fry the flour on low flame for about 7-10 minutes or until the flour turns golden pink . You can get to know when the ladle used to stir the flour becomes light and a strong yet pleasing aroma fills your house .(these are the tips my MIL told me to notice ..i guess some things are to be experienced )



  4. Add the roasted semolina flour to the chickpea flour and mix well. Stir fry for another 1 minute so that the flours blend well.


 5. Now add the powdered edible gum . Fry well. On frying the powdered edible gum will tend to swell and form lumps. Keep stirring. Do not worry about the lumps, as we are going to run this flour through a food processor later before shaping them into ladoos.


  6. Add the desiccated coconut and blend well. Put off the flame.



  7. Remove the mixture on a plate and allow to cool down. This is very important or else the added powdered sugar may begin to melt forming syrup , which we do not want.


  8. Add powdered sugar to the cool down mixture . Add about a teaspoon of saffron milk to it. Mix well and transfer this mixture to a food processor or a grinder jar and pulse 1-2 times. This will not only break the lumps formed by fried edible gum ( if any) but also make the mixture even , which will help in binding the ladoos.



  9. Bind the ladoos of desired size by taking the mixture in the fist and applying light pressure with the palms.  . Use remaining saffron milk if required while doing so. Just sprinkle few drops of the milk, which will help the binding. 



    Wishing a very happy blessed and prosperous festivity to all my readers !!!

For more similar recipes check my posts on the following. (Just click on the title for the recipes)


Dinkache Ladoo
Methi Goand Ke Ladoo
Dry Fruits Ladoo


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