One of my co-workers brought me some laddu for me to try as he knows that I love Indian food (I should say Food!) and sweets. Laddu or Laddoo is a popular sweet in India and South Asia eaten during celebrations or festivals. It is made of little balls (in sanskrit, Laddu means small ball) that are put together, fried and dipped in sugar syrup. The recipe can vary: for the flour, some use Bengal gram, dhal(chickpea), flour ((besan), wheat flour, semolina (suji or rava ), etc...
The one he gave me had almonds and raisins in it! It was deliciously sweet with a bit of crunch! Of course, it was smaller than the biggest Laddu in the Guiness World record: 5,570 kg obtained end of 2011 in India (the previous record was held by a temple in England - 551 kg).
Here is the recipe as he gave it to me:
Cooking time: 11/2 hours
- Bengal gram flour ( besan or kadalai mavu): 360 grams or 4 full cups
- Refined sugar: 600 grams or 31/2 cups
- Water: 2 cups
- Rice flour(raw rice): 2 1/4 teaspoon
- Soda bi-carb( cooking soda): 1/2 teaspoon
- Cardamom: 7
- Cashew: 50 grams
- Raisins: 40 grams
- Ghee(clarified butter): 100 grams
- Oil(preferably refined oil): 11/2 litre
- You also need a perforated ”boondhi” ladle, for frying the boondhi.
Mix the Bengal gram flour with rice flour and soda bicarb and add some water to make batter. This batter should be similar to ‘dosa’ batter consistency. Set aside.
Take a thick-bottomed vessel and add both sugar and water (2cups). Heat on medium heat to make sugar syrup. You have to keep stirring often till you reach a certain consistency, which can be tested by taking some syrup between your thumb and index finger and spreading the fingers out. If the syrup is sticky and extends like a thread between the two fingers, it is ready. Set this aside.
Powder the cardamom.
Heat oil in a frying pan on high. When the oil is very hot, take a big spoon of flour batter. Place the ”bhoondhi” ladle over the hot oil, pour one spoonful of batter into the bhoondhi ladle and press down.
Small balls of the dhal batter will drop into the oil. Once they are cooked, remove with another spoon, draining the excess oil. Let the fried batter balls (Boondhi) soak in the sugar syrup. Do the same with the rest of the batter.
Using a big heavy spoon, pound the cooked mixture to a pulp. Fry the raisins and cashew in ghee and add to the pulp with the remaining ghee. Now you can add the powdered cardamom and the whole cloves, and make round laddus, pressing the pulp into spheres using your hands.
Tips: Making the sugar syrup to the right thread-like consistency is the tricky part in the preparation of laddus. Adding colours and other ingredients like edible camphor, saffron or ”diamond kalkandu”(sugar crystals) is optional.
I did not try the recipe, but will one day!
Enjoy (I did)!