Boondi Laadu (Laddu)

IMG_9031Sometimes I start craving for food from weddings in Bangalore. Its just for no particular reason or occasion. The Boondi Laadoo was once upon a time the only sweet I would eat at weddings. The Chiroti, Mysore Pak, Pheni, etc were all too boring for me. Now having stayed far away from Bangalore for some time and not having to go to as many family gatherings, I absolutely crave everything associated with them.

This was the result of one such day and one such craving. Can hold off my hunger till I get to be invited to another traditional wedding in India.

Its not very difficult making laadoos, it just take some time and patience. The other imperative thing is learning how to make the sugar syrup. Sugar is very tricky to work with, so it might be a good idea to look up on YouTube a couple of videos that show how to make a half thread syrup. I would describe 1/2 thread as just when the sugar syrup starts taking time to fall from the spoon. Online it is described as- “Half-thread consistency is when a single thread is formed and breaks immediately when your forefinger and your thumb are pulled apart gently.”

I tried using the coarse Laddoo besan and it did not work for me. I find it easier to work with the fine Bombay besan and getting a consistency that resembles dosa batter, not very thick.

Ingredients( Makes 10 Laadus)-

For the Boondi-
Follow the instructions as mentioned in the post for Khara Boondi.
Double the amount of Gram flour to 1 Cup

For the Sugar syrup-
1. Sugar- 1 cup
2. Pach Karpoora( Edible camphor)- a pinch
3. Caradamom Powder- 1/2 Tsp
4. Cloves- about 10 to 12
5. Cashewnuts- about 10 to 15, broken into tiny pieces
6. Raisins- approximately about 20
7. Ghee or Oil for frying the Cashews and Raisins

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Method-
First start making the syrup. Take 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a wide vessel( The vessel will help in mixing the mixture later). Melt the sugar and bring to a boil. Let the syrup boil till it just starts thickening, add the edible camphor and the cardamom powder. Turn off the heat. Thickening the sugar syrup too much, will prevent the boondi from absorbing the syrup, and it will become impossible to shape into balls.
Fry the cashews, raisins and cloves in the oil or ghee and keep them aside.
In the meanwhile, start making the Boondi. Remove the fried Boondi from the oil, and immediately transfer into the sugar syrup. After all the syrup has been absorbed by the boondi, add the cashews, raisins and cloves. Mix well, and allow the mixture to cool to a temperature at which it is warm to touch and shape. The sugar crystallizes if the mixture cools down completely, and it will not be able to mold
Take a small amount of the mixture and press between the two fists to mold into a ball, approximately the size of a large lemon. Cool well, and enjoy!

Peanut Brittle or Chikki

So, what do you do when you have a Sugar craving at 9.00PM and there is nothing in the pantry that will make you happy? Make some Peanut brittle and go to bed fully satisfied!! Also, there is less guilt for not diving into the Ice cream from the refrigerator.  Brittle is the easiest thing to make, yet the ones we get in stores here just suck.

Chikki

Ingredients-

  • Peanuts- 1 cup, Roasted and skinned. Powdered coarsely in a Food processor.
  • Sugar- 3/4 Cup- Powdered
  • Ghee or Butter- 2 Tsp
  • Cardamom Pods- 2-3, powdered with the sugar

Method-

  • Heat the Ghee in a thick pan on a medium flame and add the sugar-cardamom powder. Keep stirring continuously until the sugar melts and completely becomes a liquid. If the sugar starts clumping, add a couple of teaspoons of water and just slightly increase the flame. Be very careful not to burn the sugar. Turn off heat as soon as the sugar liquefies.
  • Add the Peanut powder and mix well.
  • Spread immediately on a well-greased plate or some parchment paper with a greased rolling pin. Cut into pieces immediately, before the mixture cools.

Scrape off the remaining mixture from the pan and preview the taste, giving time for the brittle pieces to cool completely before you can enjoy them. Store in a cool dry place to prevent the sugar from melting and becoming sticky.

Kaayi Holige

‘Kaayi holige’ is a sweet, stuffed with a mixture of fresh coconut and jaggery. The trick to making a good holige in general, is to be able to make the outer covering, called ‘Kanaka’ in Kannada, as elastic as possible. This makes the cover of the holige extremely thin and almost transparent. This dough can then be rolled into disks as thin or thick as needed. Kaayi holige is supposed to be thinner than the Bele holige and a bit harder.

Anyone who has tried baking Bread from scratch, knows that it is imperative to knead the bread very well, so as to develop the gluten in the flour.Gluten is the protein in flour that gives elasticity to the flour. It is absent in rice flour, which is why a dough made of rice flour is not elastic.  The same rule of kneading applies to making the Kanaka. A mixture of fine semolina and all purpose flour, has a good gluten content. The dough needs to be a bit sticky, and needs to be kneaded very well to make it elastic. I have tried using a food processor with a kneading blade, and succeeded with great results.

Coconut oil is used very extensively in Udupi cuisine. The unrefined oil has a very distinct aroma. In this recipe, I used a little to bring out the flavor of the fresh coconut, and the taste was simply excellent. It is strictly optional, and can be substituted with refined oil.

So without further ado, let me get down to the recipe

Ingredients for the stuffing( Hoorna)

1. Finely grated coconut- 2 cups

2. Jaggery- 1 1/2 cups

3. Cardamom Powder 1/2 Tsp

For the outer cover( Kanaka)

1.  Fine semolina 3/4 cup

2. All purpose flour( Maida)- 1/2 cup

3. A pinch of salt

4. 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder

5. Refined oil – 1/2 cup

6 Coconut oil – to taste( optional)

Additional materials needed- 

1. Parchment paper or a Banana leaf( avoid plastic because it might burn and turn toxic)

2. A Non stick Tava- This works well, because jaggery tends to get a bit sticky with heat.

Method

For the outer cover( Kanaka)

Mix together the semolina, flour, salt and turmeric and make a slightly sticky dough with some warm water. Start kneading the dough by hand adding about 6-7 Tbsp of refined oil, a Tbsp at a time in short intervals. The dough will completely absorb all the oil. At this stage, either continue to knead by hand for a further 10 minutes, or put the dough in a food processor with a kneading blade and run the machine for about 3-4 minutes. This the how the dough turns out-

It will be shiny, soft and very pliable. Put some oil on the dough to prevent crusting, cover and let the dough rest at room temperature for about an hour. After 1 hour, knead the dough well again. Adding a Tsp of coconut oil at this stage gives a nice aroma to the dough. This is how elastic the dough becomes after an hour-

Notice how the dough can be stretched, without tearing, and how it coats my fingers. That is the sign that the Kanaka is ready.

To make the Hoorna-

While the Kananka is resting, the hoorna can be made. Grind the coconut without adding any water. I did not do it, and regretted a bit. Take the Jaggery and coconut in a thick pan and keep stirring on a medium flame till the mixture starts thickening, add the cardamom powder. Add a tsp of coconut oil or ghee and keep stirring. The mixture should form a soft lump and leave the sides of the pan. Jaggery has a tendency to become hard, so it is a good idea to use a medium flame. Let the mixture cool and make small balls approximately the size of a small lemon.

To make the Holige-

Keep a small bowl of refined oil( in Udupi, coconut oil would be used)  for dipping. Take a small amount of kanaka( smaller than the Hoorna ball) spread it wide on your palm, keep the hoorna on it and cover with kananka completely. Dip the ball in oil, and roll out on a piece of parchment paper, as thin as possible.

Transfer onto a hot tava, and cook well on both sides on a medium flame till both sides are slightly golden. No need to add ghee or oil again-

Serve the Holige with some warm milk and ghee. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, after a day.