Be My Guest ~ Besan Almond Laddoos

I don't know but I am totally red out here... reading the post of my guest for the day... I am one big fan of Taruna's blog, Easy Food Smith for her mind-blowing pictures, her impeccable prose and her lovely recipes. I wasn't sure when I sent her an email about how she would respond. But Alhamdulillah, I found her to be very warm. Just like she says in her post, we have been communicating since March regarding this guest post. She has already detailed that little story, so I would spare myself of that. Travel, getting a new kitchen ready, other matters of life took her time but she didn't forget my request. I know she was feeling a bit embarrassed about not being able to give in on time, but that doesn't matter, right... After all, a blogger can understand the difficulties of another blogger!

Finally I have her here and definitely it feels worth of all the wait! What delicious looking Badam Laddoos she has bought along! It comes with her beautiful style of writing. I have already eyed her Nankhatais for a trial sometime very soon, once my kitchen gets 100% active, along with me! Hehe... Please do check out her impressive list of recipes and do not forget to drool on her awesome photography!

Over to you, Taruna... :) On your mark, get set, go... to all of you to start drooling over these laddoos...

It was March when an email popped up in my inbox asking if I would be willing to do a guest post way ahead in August. It was Rafeeda whom I happen to know for a while now. Not knowing what was going to hit me in the coming months, I gave her a word of my acceptance and even discussed with her what kind of post she wanted. May was spent holidaying with family in Europe and Delhi. In came June and my schedule took an unexpected hectic turn. I had just returned from a relaxed holiday, was not in the pink of health and if that was not enough, the house unexpected screamed for some renovation work and it had to be immediately addressed to. And yes, how could I forget this? There was this shifting of my blog Easyfoodsmith from blogspot to wordpress.

Prior the receiving her email, owing to my health and other priorities, I had decided to take it easy and guest posts were definitely not on my priority list. However, I could not say no to her friendly and warm approach. I had promised her a guest post (while she was planning to travel during Ramadan in August) which I later struggled to fulfill. With so much on my platter, I was obviously unable to ‘deliver the goods’ which is so unlike me. I am known to be someone who is zubaan ki pakki i.e. I never falter on my promises and words. But this time around I faltered, to my utter displeasure. I was wracked with guilt and so embarrassed that I let a fellow blogger down after promising her my support. But to my relief Rafeeda asked me to take it easy and told me not to beat myself up for this. You can’t imagine how relaxed she made mealthough I still couldn’t shake off the feeling of guilt.

Few months down, I hesitantly wrote her a mail asking if she was still willing to take a chance on me and she immediately got back with an emphatic ‘Yes’! So here I am today, fulfilling my promise to Rafeedafinally. Thanks Rafeeda for reaching out to me. Those who know Rafeeda would certainly know that she doesn’t give her readers a breather. The amount of posts she uploads despite working full time and juggling home and work!! Hats off to you Rafeeda for such passion and pace!! It is hard to come across anyone with such energy and ideas. I find it quite a task when I have to upload a post – planning, cooking/ baking, composing pics, thinking of props, background, mood of the pic, clicking, editing, besides drafting the write up, editing it, finalising the write up and finally, uploading the post. Phew! You are quite an inspiration Rafeeda yet I can’t see myself matching your standard!

I had planned a salad post for her but taking a cue from her blog name ‘Sweet Tooth Raf’, it is obvious that she loves sweets. Therefore I decided to cater to her sweet tooth. I haven’t made considerable amount of laddus in my life and the ones that I have are those that did not require the mixture to be rolled into balls while ‘hot enough to handle’. Despite the fact that I have been cooking for nearly a decade, I am still quite a 'delicate darling' when it comes to dealing with the variety of kitchen heats. It is embarrassing to share it but when I have to drop the onions for sautéing in oil, I use a long handled spoon so that not even the minutest of splutter hits me. Even my daughter does a better job at it than me!! Anyways, now you know the reason why you have only seen these Nariyal Laddu on the blog; they require to be rolled when they are cold and that makes my life so much easy.

It was always my mother who used to make these laddus, adding her love and her special touch like any mother would. They were out of the world, however, there are so many recipe of hers that she never jotted down and I too never got the chance to ask her and jot them down. Anyways, here I have used my Aunt’s recipe (the one who shared her Handvo recipe) which I have tweaked to suit the taste of my family. Instead of the dry ginger powder, I stuck to using green cardamom seeds powder. Secondly, she uses roasted and powdered peanuts which I swapped with roasted and crushed almonds. Suit yourself with what you prefer. Also, she had used the ratio of half is to one of ghee to the flour which I reduced further down to half. Feel free to use my aunt's ratio if you prefer richer tasting laddus. Another deflection from her recipe that I made is - she dry roasts the flour and and adds melted ghee to it along with the rest of the ingredients while I chose to dry roast it half way through and then roasted it further on by adding ghee to it.

Making the laddu is super easy but it comes with a catch, which is, that it requires oodles of patience since the flour needs to be first dry roasted on a low gentle heat to help it become aromatic (without burning it). And the outcome is richly rewarding. The nutty aromatic flavour that the flour acquires upon roasting is truly comforting. Rub with that the magic of desi ghee and you are instantly transported to the land of bliss. These laddus are mostly made during the winter days in the households across the north India since chick pea flour is considered to provide a warm effect to one’s body. No, I don’t always talk so much if that is what you are thinking by now. Let us head straight to the recipe then. 

For the laddus, you will need the following ingredients,

2C Besan (chick pea flour)

½C Ghee

1C Boora Cheeni (powdered sugar)

½C Almonds (roasted & coarsely ground)

1 tsp dry ginger powder

Gently heat (on low flame) a heavy/thick bottom pan or a heavy bottomed wok (kadhai). Once it begins to get hot, add the besan and start dry roasting it for about 15 minutes on low heat. Ensure that you keep stirring the besan all the while to prevent it from getting burnt at the bottom.  Add the ghee and roast further for about 20 minutes or till the besan changes colour and emanates a nice nutty aroma.

While the contents are still warm, add the sugar, almonds and ginger powder. Mix the contents well and begin shaping laddus. Take a few spoonfuls of the mix in your hand and using your fingers and palm, keep squeezing and rolling the contents in your fist to roll out balls/ laddus to the size of your choice. I made them walnut sized. Enjoy with the beverage of your choice or simply snack on them :-)

Note: All through the roasting process, do NOT leave the contents unattended.

Note: Try to get your hands on coarsely ground besan. It will give a nice texture to the laddu and they won’t feel ‘pasty’ in your mouth unlike the regular chick pea flour laddus.

Note: My husband and daughter do not appreciate chunks of nuts in their desserts so I add them crushed. You can add them in chunks if you want to. 

Note: As I begun to roll the laddus, I realised that the mixture was a wee bit dry. So, I added extra two table spoons of ghee (measure it and then heat it before adding) to the contents.

Note: It being hot here, I refrigerate the laddus after rolling them. They keep well for a few weeks.

Yield: 20 – 22 Laddus (walnut sized)

Don't you feel like grabbing them? Definitely, I do... and thank you Tanuja for those very high words... I really don't know whether I deserve them. Alhamdulillah, by Allah's Grace, I am managing this madenning speed of my blogging but maybe when it is time to slow down, I definitely would, InShaAllah... :)

Do hop on to her space to see more of the above breathtaking photography and awesome recipes... till then, enjoy your weekend!

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