RAM LADOO – राम लड्डू (Street Style Lentil Fritters)

There is this never ending debate on whether Delhi is a better place than Mumbai or if Mumbai is better than Delhi. The debate has dwellers of both cities vehemently fight for the cause of their respective city. For me, Delhi is the city where I came for work and eventually got married and Mumbai is the city where I have spent most of my married life and raised my daughter. I belong to neither and I rather appreciate each for their own character and what each city has to offer in terms of work opportunities, food, history, culture, safety and education. While Mumbai is a chilled out place and a safer city for women and in general. Delhi is spacious with beautiful Lutyens and it is historically very rich and has a lot to offer to a traveller. 

However, when it comes to street food, I am not a big fan of Mumbai street food. I do not enjoy the variety of pav paired with, mostly, potatoes with an exception of Pav Bhaji which is a mish mash of spiced veggies served with dinner roll called pav. The bread looks more like that used for sliders

May be it has to do with the fact that I was raised in the north, that I find Delhi’s street food vibrant, with interesting variety of chaats, tikkas and kebabs (veg and non veg). Because Delhi has severe winters and intense summers, the effect of the weather is visible on the street food as well. Kiosks selling Jalebi (funnel cakes), Shakarkand Chaat (Sweet Potatoes), Ram Ladoo, Aloo Tikki, Aloo Chaat, veg and non veg tikkas, kebabs and fish pakoda (Battered Fish Fritters) is a common sight during winters while during summers one would find Dahi Bhalle, Fruit Chaat, Kulfi besides Masala Lemonade etc being sold in every locality.

The name Ram Ladoo is quite a misnomer. For one, ladoo / laddu is mostly sweet Indian confection. Perhaps its the resemblance of the fritters to a laddu (small and round) that probably led to it being called ladoo. And why Ram? No idea there. Perhaps a food historian would have an answer to that. 

Ram Ladoo is a delicious and protein rich dish made using moong dal and chana dal but the star ingredient or rather pronounced flavours are that of the winter produce…radish. One needs to get hold of sharp tasting radish (teekhi mooli) and its leaves. Green and Tamarind Chutneys are the soul of the Delhi (rather north Indian) street food and a must–have in your kitchen if you plan to make any kind of chaat. However, for this one, the green chutney also needs to have radish leaves added to it along with mint and coriander. A small amount of this chutney goes into the dal batter as well. Without the addition of radish leaves to the batter, these fritters would be simply moong dal pakoda or lentil fritters and not Ram Ladoo.

So the anatomy of Ram Ladoo is fritters, drizzled with green and tamarind chutney, sprinkled with chaat masala, garnished generously with tangy salad of shredded radish and radish leaves. Have I enticed you enough 😀

For Ram Ladoo (Fritters)

½ Cup Moong Dhuli (Yellow Moong Dal)

3 tbsp Chana Dal

2 tbsp Urad Dal (Ivory Lentils)

½ an inch Ginger

2 – 3 Green Chili

½ tsp Roasted Cumin Powder

½ tsp Salt or to taste

¼ tsp Asafoetida

Sufficient Oil for deep frying

For Green Chutney

1 Cup roughly chopped Radish Leaves

¾ C Fresh Coriander Leaves (along with tender stem)

¼ C Mint Leaves

½ inch Ginger

2 Green Chilies

Juice of a Lime 

Salt to taste

For Radish Salad

1 Cup Shredded Radish

¼ tsp Red Chili Powder

1 Green Chilli (finely chopped)

½ tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Radish Leaves (Finely chopped)

1 tbsp Coriander Leaves

To Garnish

Lemon Wedges

Pom Arils

Wash and soak together the moong dal and urad dal for four to five hours

Wash and soak the chana dal separately for the same time.

Discard water from the moong and urad dal and grind to paste along with green chilies, shredded ginger using least amount of water.

Discard water from chana dal and grind it to paste as well, using as less water as possible.

Add the cumin powder, two to three tablespoons of finely chopped radish leaves or one tablespoon of paste made with radish leaves, salt and asafoetida. Whisk the batter for five to ten minutes, using your hands, to incorporate air into it. This is to ensure that the batter is light in consistency therefore ensuring better textured fritters.

Meanwhile, wash the greens and discard the water. Put all the ingredients mentioned under the ‘Green Chutney’ heading in a grinder along with a little water and blitz to make a smooth chutney. Keep aside.

Mix together all ingredients mentioned under the ‘Radish Salad’ heading and set aside.

Heat oil and fry the fritters on medium heat till they turn golden (and not golden brown). Remove the fritters on an absorbent sheet.

To serve, arrange the fritters in individual serving bowls and drizzle with the green and tamarind chutney. Sprinkle the fritters with some chaat masala, radish salad and garnish with pom arils and coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Serves 3 – 4

Note – Keep aside some batter to make green chili fritters and serve them along with the ram ladoo. 

Thank you so much for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe! 

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