In the blink of an eye, Diwali is around the corner again. For us, it is also Kali puja. Although I hated and still do the deafening sounds of the fireworks during this time, I did love the display of lights. And, as a child, I would look forward to the evening when houses would be lit up by the earthen lamps. Everything seemed to be so magical (yes, except the crackers that went off with a bang).
Our festive season starts with Durga Puja, the most important religious festival in our parts, followed closely by Lakshmi Puja…and when Diwali came, it also meant that that our autumn break was coming to an end.
Making sweetmeats during Diwali, is surprisingly not that prevalent among us. It was more Kali puja. But today, I did make some. Nothing very complicated, just the good old soojirlaru (sooji/rava/semolina ka laddoo).
These were very special for us, in more ways than one. As I got the mixture ready to be shaped into laddus, Rengoni and Agastya offered to help. And of course, I agreed. What better way to shape laddoos than to have two eager assistants on each side, trying their best to copy the way I was working. It was really fun, listening to their banter, and all of us, with greasy hands, shaping and arranging in rows on the tray. Of course, they did hand their handiwork to me to put the ”finishing touches”, as they said. At times, the tasting went on a bit more than the shaping Oh! and straight I went back in time to the days when it would be me near my ma, joining in shaping( and of course, tasting ) laddoos during Bihu. It was nice, sharing those memories with the little ones. Hmmm, talk about coming a full circle …isn’t it amazing how we create memories …Ahem, I”m getting a bit soppy here now.
Anyway, coming back to the recipe for laddoos, this is one such recipe which does require quite a bit of ghee. If you are going”ugh”already, it is best not to attempt them, as they do need their quota of ghee for that taste. In fact, I too do the ”’ugh” thing, but the lover of laddoos that I am, I did make them, but kept the sizes reasonable, quite small, actually ( I got around 50 laddoos with the following measurements), and as we are having a few guests tomorrow, it should work out fine.
This is the first time that I am making laddoos with only semolina(that too, the fine one)…usually it is either with coconuts or with a mixture of semolina(coarse) and coconut. The laddoos were very, very, tasty, but were not that firm…I mean, they were not mushy, and beautifully held their shape, but somehow, as I am used to firmer laddoos, so was wondering if any of you might have any pointers??
3C fine semolina
1 c of sugar
1 and 1/2 C of milk
7 tblsp of ghee
3/4 C chopped cashew nuts
a handful of raisins
5 pods of cardamom, crushed
1 inch stick of cinnamon
a small pinch of saffron
- Heat the ghee and lightly fry the cashew nuts and raisins till golden. Keep aside.
- Add the cinnamon stick, followed by the semolina and stir for a few seconds.
- Add the sugar, saffron and cardamom, and continue frying over low heat till the semolina starts to change colour. Stir continuously to avoid burning.
- Add the fried cashews and raisins, mix well, and add the milk. Keep stirring vigorously till everything is mixed well and the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool a little.
- With greased hands, shape into balls and arrange on a lightly greased plate.
As I mentioned earlier, these were really tasty, and quite addictive as well. Rengoni and Agastya have been hovering around the tray of laddoos a bit too much
Happy Diwali, everyone, to you and your dear ones!