Just two days back I learnt that the very first post that I had uploaded on my blog had disappeared ‘mysteriously’ when my blog shifted from blogspot to wordpress. A friend called up to say that she had been trying to click the link to coconut ladoos but the post failed to pop up. Alarm bells rang and I hurried to grab my laptop. And lo and behold, the post had indeed disappeared! I felt a twang of disappointment since it was my beloved first post. The first of anything has a special place in our heart or at least a memory that resides in our heart rather than the mind. I decided not to change a word that I had written in that post coz it made me look back at the journey that began three years ago. (Thankfully I had a copy of the post in a ‘windows word’ file)
“A few days back one of our South-Indian friend visited us after their trip to their native place. They brought us ‘prasad’ of a whole coconut. Coconuts are synonymous to South India and it is used in nearly every culinary delight of the South Indian cuisine. But I, a North Indian, really didn’t know what to do with it especially since it was prasad so it couldn’t be used to dish up a chicken or fish curry!! I didn’t want to use it for making a curry. I surfed the net for a simple recipe where I could use the coconut and give it the honour that it deserved. I had a recipe for coconut laddu made with condensed milk which is much faster to make but it has loads of calories. This recipe, although takes longer to cook, happens to be a much healthier version.
I found a simple and easy recipe on the net. Though the recipe mentioned 15 minutes of cooking time but it actually took me a good 30 minutes to reach the desired consistency of the mixture. Also, it mentioned ‘serves 8-9′ but honestly, it was just enough for 4!! (coz they are small in size and turn out so yummy that you possible can’t do with just one helping!!)
I made a few minor changes to the recipe which is: One, I peeled off the brownish/blackish outer skin of the fresh coconut and kept only the white flesh. Second, I added just a dash of red colour so as to impart a baby pinkish colour to the ladoos and third, I rolled them in desiccated coconut. The result? They turned out looking really gorgeous with that hint of pink peeping from a covering of lovely white coating of desiccated coconut!! (Exactly the way one finds them in Indian sweet shops)”
Since I mentioned above about yield of laddus being low, I have doubled the amount of ingredients this time around. Also, my initial posts didn’t have pics attached to them so I grabbed the opportunity to upload a few pics along with the post.
2C loosely packed (120 g) finely shredded, fresh Coconut (or desiccated, if necessary)
1 scant C Caster Sugar
1C (250 ml) milk
½ tsp Green Cardamom seeds, ground
1 drop edible Red colour (optional)
A few table spoons of Desiccated Coconut
Chopped Pistachio nuts or Almonds, for sprinkling (optional)
Place the shredded coconut, sugar and milk in a non-stick pan. Bring gently to the boil (at this point you will notice that the coconut releases its water and milk turns thin but don’t panic) and keep cooking over a medium low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the ground cardamom and a drop of red edible color (if using) and continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the mixture becomes one mass (yet it should be moist) and starts to come off the base of the pan in a ball. Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture onto a plate.
Set aside until it is cool and begin forming it into balls. (I found that an easier way to handle the sticky mixture was to refrigerate it for approx 30 minutes)
Take a few table spoons of desiccated coconut in a plate and gently roll the laddus into it. Transfer them onto a plate and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios or/and almonds. (I placed them on a plate covered with cling wrap so that they do not stick to the plate and can be removed easily.).
Note: Ensure that you cook the coconut on medium low heat else the coconut will release it oils and the laddos will have a dry and crumbly texture. The same will happen if you cook the mixture for too long. The mixture must remain moist.
Note: The original recipe had 1 cup of sugar which was a tad sweet for our taste hence I reduced the amount of sugar.
Yield: 10 Laddus (the size shown in the pics)
Thanks for visiting and see you soon again
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