Cashew Cranberry Rava ladoos – Semolina Mounds (rounds) of Festivity

I think I simply got bit by the festive bug severely. Seriously, this Diwali I seem to be favoring the creation of sweets or mithai more over the savory, spicy crunchy stuff. Maybe it has to do with the awesome piece of news I received last week. In any case, “more the merrier” seems to be the motto as I favor this creation. My oldest loves these and my youngest will eat anything that is a ladoo 🙂 the rest of the family don’t really need an excuse.

This particular mithai is super quick, no seriously super quick to make and I barely have any stove time involved in it at all.

Prep time :  15 min

Make time : about 15 – 20 min

Yield : 20-24 ladoos

Ingredients:

  1. Semolina/Cream of wheat/ Sooji/Rava : 2 cups
  2. Sugar : 1.5 cups
  3. Melted Ghee : needs to be in the warm liquid form – about 1-1.25 cups.
  4. Raw Cashewnut powder : Totally optional: 1/2 cup – I just added it in, cause I had some leftover from making Kaju Burfi.
  5. Cashewnuts pieces : 2 tbsp : toasted or pan-fried in ghee
  6. Dried Cranberries : 1 tbsp : Panfried in ghee
  7. Saffron : a few strands
  8. Cardamom pods – 10-12
  9. Milk : 2 -4 tbsp ( if required)

Method:

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add in the 2 cups of semolina and microwave it for about 5 minutes in total in 2 minute intervals. Now keep an eye on it, as you want this to be toasted not burnt. When it turns a light brown color, keep it aside to cool . Say for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Once it cools down, pulse the semolina in a blender to coarsely powder it. Add in the sugar and pulse it once again.
  • Slight heat up the saffron strands and pulse it with cardamom pods.
  • Give a final spin in the blender incorporating the semolina, sugar, saffron and cardamom and the cashew nut powder if adding it in.
  • Remove this dry mix in a work bowl and add in the toasted/ pan fried cashew nuts and  cranberries.
  • Gently mix it to ensure the nuts and berries are distributed evenly.
  • Now add in the melted ghee in liquid and warm state, a few tablespoons at a time. The idea is to gently mix in small portions and roll in to spherical globes or ladoos.  If you are having difficulty shaping the ladoos or want to restrict the use of ghee, then add in the 2 tbsp of milk and gently mix it in. the idea is to get the mix wet not soppy. If required add in the remaining 2 tbsp of milk as well.
  • Place the ladoos on a flat plate to rest and air dry. ( The ghee solidifies to maintain the spherical shape)
  • In about 15 -20 min, the ladoos should be ready to be devoured.  ( I am missing quite a few  by the time the post is done 🙂 )

Notes:

  • I did not use milk to make these ladoos. Especially since I am going to be sending a few in a care package and I did not want to reduce the shelf life.
  • Finely chopped pistachios can be added to this and it makes it even more delectable!
  • The coarseness of the semolina to be used is a personal preference.
  • I used a little under a cup of ghee to prepare the ladoos. Usage of ghee can vary depending the raw material used.

Besan Burfi -Chickpea Flour with walnuts and cashew !Fudge- o – Mania???

Here I was thinking I all but exhausted my list of goodies to be made for Diwali. I mean seriously how many goodies can one indulge in , Right?  Wrong. Apparently there are a few more up my sleeve than what I had originally envisioned. ( I think I am channeling my mom here. )

My first-born sort of wheedled the concoction based on semolina out of me yesterday. ( that post is still sitting in the drafts. I do need to post it up). And my butterfly wanted to know if I would make Mysore -Pak. Seriously this child would eat anything crunchy. She enjoys cucumbers as much as she enjoys  the  crunchy spirals I would make. But this is the one sweet, she can seriously dig into. Traditional Mysore Pak, would call for the need  to indulge in heavy ghee. No sir, no butter or flavorless oil would do. It calls for the simplest ingredients, Besan or Chickpea flour, sugar and ghee.But the last one simply cannot be compromised on.Wary of indulging in such heavy fattening matter , especially since they stick on rather fast and sort of love you so much that they refuse to come off ( Folks, I am referencing the pounds that appear on the scale here ) especially with array of mithai I have in store for the festive season. I already had walnuts in stock, and since I did not use it  my dry fruit and nut fudge thought it would be nice to have some nutritional value in this dessert.

Here’s hoping this will appease her appetite for besan based sweets, this recipe is a marriage of Southern India’s Mysore Pak and Northen India’s Mohanthal and with a host of deliberate variables introduced by yours truly!

Prep time : 15 min              Cook time : 20- 25 min or so.

Setting : 20-30 min              Yield : 36 pieces

Ingredients:

  • Chickpea Flour (Besan) – 2 cups, sifted
  • Cashew nut powdered – 1/2 cup ( optional). I used it because I had left overs from kaju burfi recipe.
  • Unsalted Butter – 10 oz ( 1.25 sticks)
  • Walnuts – 1 cup, chopped finely
  • Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed Saffron strands
  • Non fat-sweetened Condensed Milk – 14 oz can
  • Chopped pistachios for garnishing – optional

Method:

  • In a heavy bottomed non-stick pan, heat the unsalted butter so it melts well and is even in tone and color.
  •  Add in the besan or  Chickpea Flour, mix well and roast on a low flame. This process will get rid of the raw smell of the chickpea flour. The aroma of this will significantly change in 15 minutes or so and it starts smelling heavenly. Please do not skimp on this step. Experience speaks folks ! You will have to deal with  raw besan fudge if you hustle to the next step. Ensure that the besan is roasted to light brown color completely.
  • On low heat setting , go ahead and  add in the Cashew nut powder if using, and then add in the  chopped Walnuts and Cardamom Powder. Make sure this is mixed very well.
  • Now add in the condensed milk and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.I would say in about 5 min or so, it should be done.
  • Immediately pour mixture onto a greased baking tray. Delay in this process will result in a mass of glop that will be hard to manage.
  • Using a sheet of parchment paper, place it over the fudge and flatten out using the bottom of a steel bowl or a flat ladle.
  • Now add in any garnishing you prefer, like chopped pistachios or halved cashews if desired.
  • Stick this mixture in the refrigerator and let it settle for about 20- 25 minutes
  • Using a greased knife, a pizza cutter or your laser beam  ( just kidding !) cut the fudge or burfi into diamond or square pieces.

Note:

I believe this recipe can be fairly adapted to making it in the microwave. I would recommend this based on my previous experiment with besan ladoos. Just make sure you stir in-between in fairly short intervals and to use a microwave safe bowl.

  • I just powdered raw cashew nuts at room temperature using a high-speed blender in pulse mode. It was done in a matter of minutes. Feel free to omit this in your preparation.
  • Please Note : This is a low-sweet, chewy, crunchy fudge  and equally delicious!!!

Lighting up the home and hearth!.. Happy Diwali to all!

I was serenaded by the most wonderful piece of news just yesterday. In fact in all fairness, there was something in the air for the last few weeks. I heard about the impending arrival of my niece. She is on her way folks, and I bet she is going to be an awesome, sassy, bright and beautiful spunky creature just like her mom! Oh ,  I simply cannot just wait to see her. Albeit it is going to be a long wait of many months.

And then, life reminds you it is beautiful again. Another amazing life creation is going to be on his/her way soon as well. This one got us all seated down, as we realize life has a very pleasant way of reminding us who the actual master of the universe is. Plan as much you will I say, these curveballs in life are what makes it beautiful I say. It was an emotional piece of news delivered to us and we could simply stare at our most favorite people on earth as they shared the very best of it!

And a local cricket match sprung up a well of emotions in my family , equivalent to MI vs CSK match. And its was a nice clincher that my DH’s team won the trophy. ( Yes , I did go to cheer him up at the field, with two of my three minions in tow. And we did a sufficiently commendable job minus the backflips of course. All the while explaining to my daughter that in all high probability her dad’s blood will be singing in cricket terms if a vein is cut open. No she did not get the humor in it, but my son kept guffawing through out. I have a 13 year old cynic and 10 year old butterfly 🙂 )

As I sit down to write this, I am transported back to the memories of yester yore ( cue : cut to the b/w scene from movies in flash back mode ). I vividly remember my mom making at least a dozen , that’s right folks a dozen , of those wonderful varieties of sweets and snacks for Diwali. A wonderful multitalented woman, who patiently tolerated my 16 year teenage phase, who woke up at 3 am just to keep me company during my Master’s degree, who made fantastic chole puris to perk me up, who did not deter from cooking a meal for 30 people with limited rations, who keep the door to her home and hearth open to all the family and near and dear at all times. She is still the favorite  “Mala paati (grandmother)” to all my kids , the one my oldest , a teen wheedles out his favorite kaaju katlis from. An amazing task master who can do just about anything, that too with a smile !

Today being the 26th of October and Diwali, a week away, I was dabbling on deciding the menu for Diwali and I came up with this…

(Dear Amma, this menu is but a scant reflection of what you pampered us with, but nonetheless it is a dedication to you…)

Coming up soon:

Diwali food for the soul ( and the stomach too…)…

  1. Fig and Dates bar – studded with nuts and goodies and no sugar added – for my DH
  2. Crunchy spiral ribbons – Awesome, addictive spirals of crunchiness – for my kids
  3. Mom’s favorite quick burfi – nuts and sugar burfi – simply irresistible!
  4. Semolina and coconut with dried cranberries and pistachio mounds of goodness
  5. Surprise !

So keep tuned folks, as I dole it out all soon…

Happy Diwali once again !