Semolina Ladoo for Diwali and other celebrations

Several years ago I remember reading Jacob Bronowski‘s book ” The Ascent of Man” where he mentioned that wheat which was the earliest cultivated crop and quintessential to man’s transformation from hunter -wanderer to farmer settler human settlements was a mutant form of grass! ¬†Wheat which was originally grown in the Levant region or the Middle East countries of Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Since then it is cultivated almost world wide and is enjoyed as a main source of food among several cultures and cuisines. Whether it is ground coarsely or fine, it is used as a food staple.

Semolina or one of its coarsely ground variations is very popular among sweet dishes in Indian cuisine. Known as Rava or Sooji, it is used to make ladoos to celebrate occasions particularly the festival of Diwali. This is how I made Ravyache ladoo this year. There are many ways of making this ladoo but I chose to make it the way my grandmother made it – traditionally, slowly roasting the semolina on the fire, adding a generous amount of home made ghee and finally rolling them out after letting them rest for 2-3 hours.

I took

  • 4 cups of semolina
  • 1 /2 cups pure ghee
  • 2 cups fresh grated coconut
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds
  • a handful of raisins de-stemmed.
  • 1 tspn cardamom powder
  • 4-5 strands of saffron

And here’s what I did

I roasted the rava and ghee in a thick pan (to prevent it from burning)and stirring all the while, till it became a light pinkish brown and released the aroma or roasting grain. I then added the coconut and roasted for a few more minutes.

This takes quite a while so don’t be impatient and stop stirring or the rava will roast unevenly.

Then I dissolved the sugar in the water and brought it to the boil to make a syrup of single thread consistency. I added the cardamom, saffron , raisins and almonds to the mixture and poured the whole into the dry ingredients.

I covered it for 2-3 hours and then rolled them out into ladoos while they were still warm. You may have to roll them out twice because they tend to become flattish at the bottom the first time they are rolled out.

While this is a foolproof recipe, care must be taken that the syrup is of the right consistency – too sticky and the ladoos will be hard and brittle, too thin and the laddoos won’t hold at all. Don’t be alarmed when you mix the syrup and the dry ingredients and see a goopy mess. As the mixture cools it comes together but just in the freak chance that the ladoos don’t bind, heat up the mixture again and cook till the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan. Make sure you are stirring all the time . Once again roll into ladoos when just warm.

I prefer making my ladoos smaller than what my granny made them simply because people nowadays prefer bite sized portions. I also like to serve them in cupcake cases so that they are easier and cleaner to handle.

 

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bellybytes

An accidental cook who likes to travel, read, watch movies and do yoga. Currently busy with full time granny duties.

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