My favourite time of the year is finally here! Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayak Chaturthi, is celebrated by Hindus as the birthday of their beloved Lord Ganesh or The Elephant God. It falls in the Hindu month of Bhadra and lasts for 10 days, ending on the day of Anant Chaturdashi.
This year it will be celebrated on the 29th of August with much joy and grandeur in my beautiful city of Mumbai. I plan on making Besan laddoos as an offering (or Prasad) to my Lord.
This article was originally supposed to be titled Laddo made laddoos (super cheesy right? But hey, that’s me !) since some of my closest friends know me by that name (you know who you are!); but since this is my very first post and I am launching my blog on this auspicious day, I decided to dedicate it solely to my Lord.
For years my mum has depended on HER Mom’s hand written recipe book for fresh, home cooked Indian food, and on the late Mrs. Tarla Dala’s cookbooks for more esoteric vegetarian fare; so when I decided to teach myself how to prepare laddoos for this festival, I figured I didn’t need to look anywhere else. I’ve grown up staring and simultaneously salivating at the photographs in her cookbooks so I reached out for one of mum’s many books and used the following recipe:
BESAN LADOOS (makes 12 SMALL LADOOS)
1/3 cup ghee (at room temperature)
1 cup besan (Bengal gram flour)
½ cup powdered sugar*
½ tsp elaichi (cardamom) powder**
a pinch nutmeg powder
almond slivers and kesar (saffron) strands for decoration
*I suggest using ¾ cup powdered sugar, since I felt the laddoos could be a little sweeter
** I used ¼ tsp elaichi powder simply because I’m not its biggest fan
1. Head the ghee in a kadai, add the besan (once it starts to simmer and your kitchen is filled with that nasty smell)
2. Sauté on a (very) slow flame till the besan turns golden brown*
3. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and set aside to cool
4. Add the sugar, elaichi powder, and nutmeg powder to the (cooled down) mixture. Mix well
5. Divide it into equal portions (I was able to make 12 with this recipe although the original mentions 10) and shape them into round balls
6. Pretty up your laddoos with the almond slivers and kesar strands **
*Keep an eye on that besan because it’s extremely tricky, especially if you are a novice. When it comes to besan I have found that there is a very fine line between golden brown and brown, so do be careful.
** To me, presentation is as important as taste, so I took the time to carefully place every almond sliver and saffron strand on each laddoo.
Serve immediately or keep aside in an air tight box. Do not refrigerate. They will remain fresh up to 3 days.
Quick tip: Mrs Dalal’s recipe mentions that the powdered sugar must be sieved to ensure that there are no lumps in your laddoo mixture. I say, follow this BLINDLY.
I do have one request to everyone celebrating this festival – Please bring home an eco – friendly idol, one that is made from bio-degradable clay. Perform the visarjan (immersing the idol in water) in one of the many artificially created ponds in your city. The Lord takes no joy in being immersed in a sea causing harm to sea life.
I pray that all your wishes get fulfilled and He blesses you with much health and prosperity!
Ganpati Bappa Morya!