What is a ‘laddoo’?
If one goes by the ingredients used I guess rolled or balled cookies comes closest, though not the exact term. No no….a laddoo is unique and there is no equivalent! A laddoo is not baked, instead the ‘flour’ which may be made of ground beans, legumes, grains etc. is roasted well before being ground into a fine flour. The ground powder is spiced up with cardamom powder or saffron and garnished with raisins and nuts. It is then brought together with either melted ghee/vanaspati, sugar syrup or jaggery syrup.
A self-respecting (Sorry!) An Indian blog is bound to have at least one laddoo recipe, but easycrafts of “Simple Indian Food” tops the list with nearly 11 different varieties – bravo! This shows why when we want to express ‘happiness beyond imagination’ in Hindi we use the phrase ‘Mann mein laddo phootna’. After a spree of baking on my blog, I decided it was time to post another laddoo – a laddoo that has become synonymous with me. One of my aunties who has now become an octogenarian was upset recently because she could not send ‘maaladus’ to me and she knows how much I loved these as a kid! We had our own rhyme at my place:
eating maaladus?, no Mama.
telling lies?, no Mama
Open your mouth. ha ha ha
When we were in Chennai, I remember one movie (Don’t know the name) in which Bhanumati, a veteran actor lures dacoits with “Laddoo, laddoo, mitai venumaa”, and the 1957 movie “Maya Bazaar” in which late actor S.V.Rangarao plays the part of Ghatotkacha. The movie was made with NTR playing Krishna, ANR playing Arjuna and S.V.Rangarao playing Ghatotkacha. The female lead was played by Savithri. The movie is a treat to watch. For me Krishna will always be NTR. No one till date can capture the mischief of Krishna like him. For a full review and story please see here. In the movie, Ghatotkacha disguised as Sasirekha makes you laugh your guts out! During a tour of the wedding preparations he sings this song
Inda gaurava prasadam, iduve yennaku podum.
Poliyodaraiyum sor, porutammana sambar,
poori – laddoo paar, iduve yenakku jor”
“Its a marraige feast and the feast looks great. I don’t need anything more than this. Wow! there is rice and puliyodarai, first class sambar to go with it. Look at the pooris and laddoos, these are more than enough for me.”Yesterday I prepared the puliyodarai and laddoos inspired by the song. Today I am giving you the laddoos, tomorrow the puliyodarai. (One at a time:))The long and
Laddoos have long been symbolic of festivities and happiness in India till the invasion of European sweets like chocolates, ice cream and things. No wonder we still have the groom/bride being told “Shaadi ke laddoo – jo khaaye woh pachtaaye, jo na khaaye woh lalchaye” – Marriage is similar to a laddo, one who eats it repents, one who doesn’t is greedy for it! Not that it applies any longer to the modern society but the proverb cannot be replaced by chocolate or mithai – laddoo has firmly laid its roots:).Prasadam/Neivedyam Laddoos:
When it comes to prasadams nothing can beat the special taste of ‘Tirupathi Laddoo’ – A heavenly concoction of deep fried boondis soaked in sugar syrup, moulded into a ball with ghee and adorned with raisins, and other dry fruits! It is pure bliss. The other laddoo I have tasted is the one you get at Shirdi in Nashik, and the ones at Siddhi Vinayak in Prabhadevi but they still have a long way to go before they even come close to the popularity of ‘Tirupathi Laddoo’.
The Maa of them all …
is a ‘maaladu’. Maaladu is prepared with ‘bhuja hua chana’, dariya dal, chutney dal, pottukadalai or roasted gram. It has a melt in the mouth texture and is typical of Tamilian Brahmin Cuisine.
Roasted gram/bhuja hua chana/dariya dal/chutney dal/pottukadalai – ground to a fine powder – about 4 cups.
Sugar – Finely powdered – About 3 cups
(is taken generally in the ratio of 1:1. I take 3/4 cup sugar for 1 cup of gram powder)
Vanaspati (You may use ghee) – About 1 and 1/2 cups
Cardamoms – 7 to8 powdered.
Raisins and roasted cashews – About 1/4 cup together (I omitted)
Preparing the gram – Sieve and powder again and sieve to get a very fine powder.
Preparing the sugar – Prepare the sugar same way as we do not want any crystals. Sieve and use the powder you get.
Ghee – Melt in a kadhai.
Now mix the dry ingredients together. Add hot melted ghee a ladle at a time and using a spoon incorporate the mixture. When it becomes crumbly and just starts coming together start collecting the mixture into small balls softly bouncing them in the palm and holding it till it forms a not so firm ball. Set aside. It will firm up as it cools. Do not add all the ghee at the same time, as the balls have to be prepared while still warm.
This is my second entry to Jukebox!