These happen when all of the following grab your attention on a weekend – 1. a can of condensed milk in the fridge begging to be used 2. two coconuts lying in the pantry threatening to go bad 4. A pack of milk powder your hubby looks suspiciously at 4. an idea to use saffron strands mom gave on the phone. Devote 45 minutes to these and voila – you are happily beaming with a plateful and a mouthful of soft, creamy, delicious delights – coconut laddus!
I could not believe it can be so easy after seeing my mom slog her way to create her version all my life, which I have posted here. I was happily following it ignoring the recipe glaring at me from all corners – the cover of the condensed milk can, the 5 page recipe books that come free with most of the kitchen equipment and the entire blogosphere! Being a super believer of the saying ‘There are no shortcuts to success.’, I always assumed I won’t get the real thing unless I spend hours on it. But this one proved me wrong. Here is the recipe – too simple to be believed, unless you try it for yourself – like I did.
There IS a shortcut to success!
Coconuts – 2 big ones, fresh
Sweetened condensed milk – 1 can/ 400 gms
Milk powder – 2 tbsp
Saffron strands – 2 pinches
Milk – 2 tsp
1. Grate/ Shred the coconuts using a conventional scraper (refer this post). Or, put the pieces in a food processor/ blender and grind.
2. Put the shredded coconut, milk powder and condensed milk in a heavy bottomed wok and heat on a low flame.
3. Make sure you mix and move the contents with a ladle every few minutes, lest things stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Meanwhile, warm the 2 tsp of milk and soak the saffron strands.
5. After 20 minutes or so, the mixture in the wok should come along and start to dry up – no liquid oozing out.
6. Switch of the gas and let the mixture cool. I moved it to a bowl and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
7. Pull out the mixture and make laddus of desired size. Place a saffron stand of the top of each laddu.
8. Store these in the fridge and pop one in your mouth everytime you open the fridge – that is the shortcut to finish these off in a day!
( Did you notice these need no ghee and no sugar!)
Sending these to the ‘Milk Sweets’ event, hosted by ‘My Culinary Creations’ and to the ‘Lets Celebrate Indian Sweets’ event hosted by ‘UK, Rasoi and Me’.
I am so tired of waiting for winter to arrive in Delhi. It is so sunny during the days that it is impossible to venture out till 6PM and so humid during the nights that you cant sleep without the air conditioning on. Summer is not getting over and I get up every morning hoping that I may feel some chill in the morning air – but am disappointed every day. Now, I am so desperate for winters not because I love wearing layers and hiding behind sweaters and jackets, but for the wonderful food options it brings along. I love going to the weekly vegetable market in winters – there are rows and rows of fresh greens, heaps of peas, carrots and cauliflower that I can never have enough of. I am also able to cook dishes which are on the richer side, in the name of ‘foods that keep you warm’ :). They say that our digestive system goes lethargic in summers and gets more agile and accepting in winters – and hence most rich halwa(s) and other sweet treats are usually prepared in winters.
A plate full of yellow glossy delights..
I had been eyeing so many almond halwa/ burfi and laddu recipes on the food blogosphere and was longing to try them. As evident from my rant, I was waiting for a hint of winter to get to it, but totally gave in the temptation and went ahead with these kesar badam laddus this weekend. And how I loved myself for my decision! It was an absolute delight and these bright, yellow balls of almond joy filled our mouths and hearts with their delicate flavors. The mild hint of cardamom along with the saffron pushed the entire thing to a new level. I could not help notice the articles about eating healthy in the newspapers as it was ‘World Heart Day’, but overcame my guilt by reminding myself that this did not contain a single drop of fat/ ghee. The natural oil within the almonds was enough for these to get soft and glossy. This recipe is what I evolved during the cooking process and is an amalgamation of all the recipes I went through. Another reason why I wanted to record this on my blog.
No one can eat just one – my challenge!
Almonds/ Badam – 2 cups
Milk – Half cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Cardamom / Ilaichi powder – Half tsp
Saffron/ Kesar strands – 3 pinches
Almonds – 10 – 12 for garnishing (optional)
1. Blanch the almonds. For this, put the almonds in a wide bowl with water. Keep the bowl on the flame for 5-7 minutes, the water will start to boil. Switch off the gas, and cover the bowl. After 10 minutes or so of waiting you should be able to pick the almonds and remove the peels easily. Alternatively, soak almonds overnight and peel them in the morning.
2. Spread the peeled almonds on a kitchen towel so that they dry up a bit.
3. Put the almonds along with one-fourth cup of milk in a blender jar and blend to a smooth paste.
4. Put a thick bottomed wok on the gas, on low-medium heat.
5. Pour in rest of the milk in the wok and let it come to a boil (1 minute).
6. Add the almond paste, sugar, cardamom powder and saffron strands.
7. Now, let this mixture cook for a good 20-25 minutes, stirring continuously.
8. Meanwhile, chop the almonds for garnishing to small bits and spread them on a plate.
9. Once the mixture reaches a soft dough consistency, switch off the gas and let it cool. It will get all glossy due to the almond oil.
10. While still warm, pull out small portions of the mixture and roll it into a small ball/ laddu with your palms. Roll this laddu on the plate containing the almond bits so that they stick to the surface of the laddu.
11. Repeat for the entire mixture. Keep the laddus in the refrigerator.
12. Pick one whenever you want and bite into the chewy soft ball. You will feel transformed to paradise, as the texture of almonds and flavors of saffron and cardamom fill your mouth and soul. Repeat with the rest of them! 🙂