Tag Archives: traditional sweets

Deepawali 2019 – The Laddu Saga

Laddu might be a favourite sweet for many. Any type of Laddu, called ‘Urundai’ in Tamil, denotes, sweet balls made with different ingredients… like neiurundai/split green gram laddu, kadalai maavu urundai/bengal gram laddu or the unavoidable thengai urundai/coconut laddu.

These traditional urundais are healthy with the roasted lentils, in comparison to the white flour based creamy sweets. With new age food therapies from bloggers like me, there are other healthier versions – flax seed urundai, ragi urundai, and other millet based sweet balls.

But, no one can beat the Boondi Laddu. The King/Queen of Laddus in the south is the boondi laddu and, in the north of India, it is the ‘Moti choor Laddu’. The Moti choor of north India, is named due to its miniature pearls. The boondi, must have been named after the Hindi word- ‘Boond’ which means ‘droplet’.

One version of the South Indian Laddu, is the most popular Laddu of the Temple of Thiruppathi. The Thiruppathi laddu must be the most sort after, next to the presiding deity in the temple. The Boondi Laddu of the south, is made with slightly bigger pearls, than its northern counterpart. In colour too, the north prefers orange and the south prefers yellow. The Thiruppathi laddu though is brownish, as the pearls are deep fried and, taken out after they reach a darker colour. This might be for longer shelf life.

So, Laddu has been on my bucket list for many years. Before starting to make the Laddu, I wanted to do my homework well. I had my cousin in Chennai, who was and is still an expert in making Laddus. I approached her during one of my holidays, and that was my ‘Laddu Workshop’, in its best and simplified form. After that fruitful lesson, I thought Laddu was not as hard as I used to believe.

The hands that gave me a live demo and a true workshop on Laddu..

Thanks Sweety for that excellent demonstration!! These are the beautiful laddus we made.

So, inspired by the skillful workshop on Laddus by Sweety, I was confident, my laddus were going to be perfect.

Last Deepawali, I decided to make Boondi Laddu, along with Flax seed/black sesame Laddu – (https://dosaikal.com/2018/11/24/the-good-fat-black-ball/). But, I messed up with the Paagu or the sugar syrup. The sugar syrup got a bit thicker and couldn’t bind the laddus together. instead, we had them as dry sweet boondi. It was not a waste, that had to be thrown away, or altered to settle down in other variations, like the athirasam. But my mission remained unaccomplished.

I felt like the same maths student in my previous article (https://dosaikal.com/2019/11/07/deepawali-the-victory-story/), whose procedures were right, yet answer went wrong.

I researched into the shots, that I had taken at my cousin’s. Then I went through this youtube -demonstration- Laddoo by Revathy Shanmugam

After setting myself into a Yogic meditator’s mode, I went into the kitchen, at 9 in the night. I told the chatting and helping enthusiasts at home, husband and daughter, not to come near the kitchen, till further instructions.

Two alterations I did to the original recipe –

  1. No food colour or turmeric powder was used.
  2. Since I didn’t want to use white sugar, I used unrefined cane sugar.
  3. Also, Mrs. Revathy Shanmugam’s recipe suggested 1 1/2 cups sugar for 1 cup of bengal gram flour. I took equal quantity of both, as my family needs less sugar.

Even then, we found the Laddus to be too sweet for us.

Hence, with no food colour and brown sugar, the colour of Laddu was not as yellowish as it is available normally, still the taste was unaltered.

Ingredients (makes approximately 25 laddus)

  • Kadalai Maavu/bengal gram flour (store bought) – 1 1/2 cups
  • baking soda – a pinch
  • water – to make batter
  • unrefined cane sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • cashew nuts – 10-15 halved
  • raisins – 10-15
  • cardamom powder – 1 tsp

Method of Preparation

Before we start making boondi for laddu, it is advicable to make the sugar syrup. As Mrs. Revathy Shanmugam mentions, mixing boondi in hot syrup doesn’t yield the best of laddus. Let the syrup cool a bit, then the boondi or bengalgram pearls can be mixed.

First – Soft Ball/Single String consistency – How to make the quintessential syrup?

the syrup – a bit brownish because of the cane sugar
  • In a wide pan, take 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup water
  • Bring it to boil and then keep the stove in sim position
  • Check for Soft ball consistency.When the sugar syrup is boiling well in the vessel – keep a bowl of water and add a few drops of the syrup. The drops should settle in water and one should be able to make a soft ball out of the droplets. 
  • Soft ball consistency is same as single string. Take very little syrup in between thumb and index finger (be cautious… the syrup is too hot), now, single string should be formed. This is the right consistency of syrup.

Now that the syrup is ready, leave it aside to cool.

Start making Boondi.

the first batch came out really perfect
  1. Sieve kadalai maavu; Add baking soda
  2. Add water little by little and mix into a batter, almost suitable for dosa or pancake
  3. Heat oil in a pan. The oil shouldn’t be too hot – then the boondi would turn brown immediately, without being properly cooked. The same way, oil shouldn’t be low in heat too. Boondi would turn out soggy.
  4. Like the porridge of the baby bear, in Goldilocks Story, the oil should be – ‘not too hot not too cold’- just right.
  5. Keep the boondi ladle over the oil and pour enough batter
  6. Tap the ladle so that beautiful pearls drop in harmony
  7. Do not make too many pearls in one ladle, as they would reduce the heat of oil, in turn, the boondis would become soggy
  8. When they are done, that is, when they reach a beautiful yellow colour, take them out on kitchen tissue
  9. Finish the whole batter
  10. When the batter is done, in the same oil, fry the cashewnuts and raisins and mix with the boondi.
  11. Add powdered cardamom powder too.

Making Laddu

  1. By now, the syrup must have cooled.
  2. Mix the boondi to the syrup and stir well. Leave it aside for at least a couple of hours or even overnight. This helps the boondis to soak in the sugar syrup well.
  3. I couldn’t wait beyond a couple of hours… so, I started making Laddus by middle of the night.
  4. The well soaked and cooled boondi in syrup, binded beautifully to make perfect Laddus.

Truly, a happy ending to a fruitful Saga!

Pottukkadalai-Nilakkadalai Urundai/Roasted Channa-Groundnut Laddu

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Happy Diwali!

Any happy festival is made happier when it is made healthy too. With varied sweets and snacks to eat and greet, it is also important to include a few healthy sweets and snacks to reduce the damage already created by fatty intake of delicacies. After all the goodies have been stuffed and the digestive system has had over loaded duty to perform,  there is always the kashayam/poshion for stomach cleaning (dosaikal.com/deepavali kashayam), which is given as a damage control mechanism.

Yet, this is my contribution to a healthy sweet for the festival of lights, especially suitable for kids and due to the Clarified Butter/Ghee content- in limitations for adults too.

Pottukkadalai/Nilakkadalai Urundai/Roasted Channa-Groundnut Laddu (Sweet Ball)

 

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These Urundais/sweet balls are made in combination with roasted channa, peanuts and palm sugar all in powder form.  It is an easy to make sweet as well as high in nutritional value due to the protein rich chick pea and peanuts. White refined sugar has been avoided as they have only empty calories. Palm sugar which is rich in iron and other minerals is an added source of nutrition in the recipe. If powdered palm sugar is not available, cane jaggery syrup, palm jaggery syrup or unrefined cane sugar which is ‘Naattu Sarkkarai’ in Tamil can be used.

Pottukkadalai/Roasted Channa

 

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Pottukkadalai is Roasted Channa, also called Chutney Dhal in the northern part of India. It gets this name as it is directly used to make chutneys/dips without the burden of frying/roasting the lentil at home. It is had as a simple teatime nibbler too in Tamilnadu. Combined with pieces of coconut and jaggery it can be a healthy munch suitable to curb hunger between meals.

 

  1. They are naturally fat-free, saturated fat-free, and sodium-free. Roasted chana helps lower your risk of heart disease and may reduce your risk of colon cancer.
  2. They help to keep blood sugar low as the carbohydrate present in them takes longer time to digest and hence it has a low GI which makes them a suitable snack for diabetics.
  3. Use them to add a protein boost to meals without introducing meat or unnecessary fat to the dish.
  4. Roasted chana contain 6 grams of dietary fiber, or 22 percent of the recommended daily requirement of 28 grams. Dietary fiber encourages regular bowel movements, prevents constipation and lessens the risk of heart disease.
  5. They are also a good source of calcium, potassium and magnesium.http://www.tarladalal.com/glossary-roasted-chana-1800i

 

Nilakkadalai/Peanuts

 

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Here are a few nutritional facts of groundnuts or peanuts-

  1. They are actually legumes but carry almost all the qualities of other popular edible kernels such as pistachio, almonds, etc.
  2. They compose sufficient levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), especially oleic acid. MUFA helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” level in the blood
  3. The kernels are an excellent source of vitamin E (a-tocopherol);
  4. The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. 100 g of peanuts provide about 85% of RDI of niacin, which contribute to brain health and blood flow to brain.
  5. The nuts are rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
  6. Just a handful of peanuts per day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.
    http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/peanuts.html

 

Pottukkadalai-Nilakkadalai Urundai/Roasted Channa-Peanut Laddu/Sweet Balls

 

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Ingredients (makes appr. 20-22 urundais)

 

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  • pottukkadalai/roasted channa – 1 1/2 cup
  • nilakkadalai/peanut – 1 1/2 cup
  • palm sugar (powder) – 1 1/2 cup
  • elakkai/cardamom powder – 1 tsp
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • nei/clarified butter – appr. 1/4 cup

 

Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast- roasted channa and powder it in a blender
  2. Dry roast peanuts, remove skin and powder it in a blender
  3. Take a wide bowl and place all the dry powders – channa powder, peanut powder, palm sugar powder, cardamom powder and dry ginger powder and mix well
  4. Heat clarified butter in a small pan and pour on top of the powder mix.
  5. Make lemon sized balls and they are ready to enjoy.

 

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Note:

  1. Be mindful of the roasted channa. Normal raw bengal gram is not the one to be used here. Go for the roasted gram available in south-indian groceries.
  2. Palm sugar can be substituted with ‘Naatu Sarkkarai’ which is unrefined cane sugar, easily available in local stores in tamilnadu.
  3. Another substitute can be jaggery syrup or palm jaggery syrup. In that case, usage of clarified butter can be reduced as the syrups act as binding agents themselves. A little touch of ghee should be enough.