October 13, 2011

Is It Laddu?

October 13, 2011
In case some of us are not yet fluent in Sweet after the previous post, let’s stay on the topic and exercise more. Laddu comes from the Sanskrit word transliterated as ladduka or lattika, meaning a small ball. It is a simple confection cooked with flour, sugar and ghee or butter. The recipe I’m offering today comes with a twist.

Unlike the laddus I’ve tasted in India, this version is soft and rich. It has a texture similar to milk sweets. It is sweetened by honey and flavoured by orange zest. Because orange and carob (or chocolate) are one of my favourite taste combinations, I sometimes cover the sweets with carob-frosting and cut them into squares. Can they still be called laddus? I don’t know, but they sure are enchanting!

Try mixing coconut fat with unsalted butter when roasting the chickpea flour. It adds a new dimension and makes laddu even softer. You can improvise the recipe with almonds, nuts, coconut, sesame, dry fruits, vanilla, carob, cacao, ginger (or ginger-syrup) and lemon zest...to find your favourite taste.

LADDU (12 bigger or 24 smaller pieces)

100 g unsalted butter
200 ml chickpea flour (Besan)
A pinch of nutmeg powder or cardamom - optional
A small handful of desiccated coconut or almond slivers – optional
Finely grated zest of an orange
1 tablespoon milk-powder
50-60 ml honey

Melt the butter in a medium low temperature.
Add the chickpea flour, mix well to make sure there are no lumps.
Roast until the flour becomes golden colour and gives out a pleasant aroma (it takes about 10-15 minutes). Remember to mix it constantly with a spatula to prevent from burning.
A few minutes before it is ready, add the almonds or coconut and let them get some colour. You may add the spices at the same time.
Remove from the stove and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
Whisk in the orange zest, milk powder and honey.
Flatten it on a lightly butter surface or a baking paper.
Let it cool to the point that you are comfortable rolling balls from it.

CAROB FROSTING

250 g coconut fat
300 ml powder sugar
Pure vanilla extract or powder
150 ml carob powder (or cacao)

Melt the coconut fat in a medium low temperature.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Pour on the top of the laddu.
Let it cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting into squares.

52 comments:

  1. they look very pretty..love the designs you've made. thanks for the ladoo information.....interesting !

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  2. Lakshmi, can laddu's ever get better than this,jaw droppingly beautiful presentation and nice to see laddo make over fo

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  3. Lakshmi,
    That's a jaw dropping presentation!! Drool-worthy laddoo's :)

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  4. These look fantastic! The photos are lovely and I love the flavors you've incorporated together. Nicely done. :)

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  5. Lakshmi,
    My jaws just dropped to the ground and as I was scrambling to put them back together:

    One thing is certain - you are no ordinary cook/photographer. You are gifted in a very special way... Your photographs evoke so many emotions all at once that I am at loss of words to express.. I only have the "bestest" admiration as I am in deep awe each time I visit your blog...
    On each visit, I have to literally curb my urge to write as much as a blog post in itself and bore you to death about how much I adore your style and creativity... I did not mean to exaggerate.. (does it even look like I made an effort?! anyways..)
    I only wish I could meet you someday somewhere...
    You and your work are a great inspiration!

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  6. OMG!!! Those are the most beautiful laddus I've ever seen....eye candies for sure! Very very impressed by your recipes, and more so by the photographs! Happy Blogging :)

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  7. Did you send them to foodbuzz, I'm sure the'd make the top 9!!!

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  8. They are so beautiful and your pictures... WOW!

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  9. Never seen besan laddus quite like these, they're beautiful.
    Love your re-intepretation of them. :)

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  10. Just stumbled upon you site through foodgawker. I'm absolutely in love with your space. Such gorgeous pictures!

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  11. Your photos are so enchanting, Laksmi! And I'd love to "exercise" more on this topic =p. I can't even remember the last time I had laddu (I think back in high school sometime!), so I have no associations with the term any longer. But from these photos alone, I'm ready for a big plateful =D

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  12. Very nice recipe Laksmi! I have not never eaten this kind of sweet. You can change the flour? if I use the flour lentils?

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  13. Thank you for visiting, girls!

    Radhika, you are as sweet as your name indicates and I hate to bring you the bad news: I am as ordinary as it gets, if not borderline boring. You are full of good qualities that allow you to see good even in places (persons) where it may not exist.

    Xiaolu, ♥♥♥ you are pretty fluent in Sweet already!

    Oxana, I suppose you could use some other bean/lentil flour. I don't know how it will affect the taste. I've had laddu made with semolina and wheat flour, but it has a coarse, sandy texture. Chickpea flour is nutty but neutral, and it has an excellent, soft and smooth, texture. You can try to find it in a health food store or an ethnic/Indian shop if you have such around. It is called Besan or Gram (not graham) flour. You can also try making it by throughing dry chickpeas in a mixer or coffee-mill and giving them a good ride.

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  14. Thanks for the reply, Lakshmi! No, no, in Italy there is chickpea flour in a simple shop, use it as much here.
    I will try with chickpea flour. And the carob? you mean the carob flour or I mistranslated?

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  15. Oxana, great! Yes, I mean carob powder. Good luck!

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  16. Absolutely stunning pictures. Your interpretation of the laddu is very interesting.

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  17. Wow4 I am so going to try this!!! Looks amazing! :) Thx!

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  18. Gorgeous Lakshmi!!! I love the beautiful designs ontop of the Laddu (something I've never heard of here in Australia). The photos of the cubed Laddu look like a Scottish sweet that my family makes, called Tablet, that is made with sweetened condensed milk.

    As always, your photos are absolutely stunning.

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  19. Saw you FoodGawker and hopped in to see such jaw dropping clicks..amazing..love your presentation and approach to food..

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  20. They might not look like laddus but can most definitely qualify as burfis! Both look absolutely delectable and transcendental!

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  21. True beauties! Eat or watch, this is the question :)

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  22. Anushruti, you are right! Maybe it should be called Besan Burfi. There is a nice recipe with milk, butter and chickpea flour called Dvaraka Burfi that is very much like a milksweet. In my mind, I always associate besan with Laddu and milk with Burfi, no matter in what shapes the sweets come.

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  23. I say they are pedas! Besan ka peda :-)
    Takes me back to my childhood days spent visiting Dwarka temple in Gujarat and devouring the peda that the vendors sell in the city's bylanes.

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  24. Anita, Peda is a good idea! Although I have to admit, pedas I have in mind & served in Mathura and Vrindavan are different and simply wonderful in another way...

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  25. wow. I can't say anything different from this.

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  26. this is exquisite ..linked on my blog today!!

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  27. Burfi or laddus...what's in a name..I just want them all! What gorgeous clicks.
    PS; Hope you don't mark my comments as spams since all of them contain the same msg (gorgeous clicks) :)

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  28. Beautiful photos and such unique presentation of laddus that otherwise tend to be boring and round :-)

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  29. Does it matter what they are called? :) They are beautiful and orange zest and chocolate is my thing. Sometimes when I crave a sweet bite and do not have any dessert, I chew up dark baking chocolate chips and some zest :D Lakshmi some day I wish I could just sit and watch you style food and photograph them.

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  30. Today I was wondering why I hadn't seen any more posts from you, and when I checked my Google Reader, I saw why. I don't normally click on posts when I don't know what the food is (embarrassingly, I had never heard of laddu) - but that's got to stop because I missed this beautiful post! Now I keep scrolling up to that first picture, trying to figure out what to say, but like before, I can't find any words to describe how insanely perfect your pictures are.

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  31. How could I have missed this post! What exquisite presentation. Love the neat design of the frosting on top! Love the top right picture of the aerial view of the laddus- just wondering what aperture and shutter speed you used and if a tripod was used? Thanks a bunch :)

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  32. The Ladoos look awesome and I want to try it for this Diwali.. But I just have a small query. In the ingredients the Besan reads 200 ml ? Should it be 200 gm instead? Also can coconut fat be replaced by butter?

    Shyam Rupini

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  33. Sukhaina, tripod was there, but it wasn't on the floor. I was probably supporting it on something, maybe on a leg (mine or chair's :-), while standing on a chair. I have a simple tripod that doesn't really function well with the above angle. I should get one with a macro arm, but I'm useless in shopping :-) Aperture 4.5, speed 1/13.

    Shyam Rupini, I'm really bad in writing recipes, but this time I got it right :-) Once I gave out a recipe-sheet on a cooking class that said 5 meters ginger is needed for a subji! At one point a client asked if I need any help in carrying the ginger root in the kitchen to be peeled and grated :-)

    200 ml (2 dl) besan seems a small amount, but remember the recipe is only for 12 laddus.

    I suppose you can use only coconut fat. If you omit both the butter and milkpowder, the consistency will be different, less soft and similar to laddus served in India. You might want to reduce the amount of honey then too.

    Good luck and happy Diwali!

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  34. Shyam Rupini, I misunderstood you! Do you mean if the coconut fat in the frosting can be replaced by butter? Yes! The good thing about coconut fat is that it becomes very hard in the fridge and melts in the mouth when eaten. It goes well, taste-wise, with chocolate and carob. But butter is fine too. It doesn't become as hard in the fridge but it certainly melts in the mouth! There is nothing better than butter!

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  35. Lakshmi, as always, this is pure beauty. I've had this recipe bookmarked since you posted it & am wondering how well it would travel. I would love to send my mom a gluten-free sweet, & these look so decadent & wonderful. Would they ship ok if I overnight them? Is there anything I could use in place of the milk powder?

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  36. Can you plase share how you did the decoration on the top. Did you use a piping bag and some icing??
    Thank you very much

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  37. The top of the round ones is melted chocolate, piped. The white one is powder-sugar mixed with water. For piping small decorations I'm using a tiny plastic bag with a small hole cut on a corner.

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  38. Allie, sorry I missed your question. Laddus will travel well. They would love to travel to your mother :-). You can omit milk powder, it is optional.

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  39. Wow..Ur food blog is definitely out of the box...

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  40. These look phenomenal. I was searching for a laddu recipe but these look totally different from what I was expecting. Can't wait to try them out... especially since I'm staying in India for the next few months and my usual layer cakes are proving difficult to bake up. Thanks for posting!

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  41. wow, beautiful! Ive eaten many laddus while living in India but nothing as pretty looking as yours!

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  42. You are amazingly creative. Just like everyone's comments, it is difficult to pull away from your blog. Your photos are captivating and your blog has an awe-inspiring experience for me. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us.

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  43. Thank you Chandriga! Welcome onboard!

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  44. Simply awesome! I'm totally in love with your blog. Really inspiring.

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  45. Lakshmi,
    Made your "Laddu" (call it by any name!) for Thanksgiving and it was loved by all.
    I could not manage to get it to look as pretty as yours, but it tasted great nonetheless!

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  46. Hi Lakshmi.. I would like to repeat every word of praise written about your site. Awesome photos.. and different - uncommon recipes.. I loved what you mentioned about Chaitanya Mahaprabhuji. This Laddos (prepared little bit differently) or we call "Banta" are served to God on daily basis at my home. I have recently started blogging.. Hope to make my blog as interesting as yours.. :)

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