Rava Besan Ladu is a family recipe, and is always made for Diwali. Typical Maharashtrian recipe that requires making a sugar syrup. Worth the effort!
- 1 cup rava/semolina
- 1 cup besan/chickpea flour
- 1 cup ghee
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp crushed cardamom
- 5-6 cashew pieces
- 2 Tbsp raisins
- Heat half cup ghee in a kadai and add the Rava to it. Roast the rava on a Very Low Flame until it becomes slightly pink and lets out a nice nutty aroma. Remove and set aside.
- Add the remaining ghee to the Kadai and add the chickpea flour or besan. The chickpea flour will initially soak up all the ghee. Keep roasting the besan patiently on a low flame. The besan will gradually change colour and at some point dissolve in the ghee and become slightly liquid. Continue roasting till its a nice brown colour - but not burnt. Remove and set aside.
- Crumble the cashews and the raisins and powder some cardamom pods. You can also add some grated nutmeg if you wish.
- Put the sugar in a thick pot and add 1 cup of water. Heat till the sugar dissolves and a simple syrup is made. Continue heating until you get a 'ek tari paak'. This is a Marathi term that might be difficult to explain, but I am sure that this has some equivalent in candy terminology. I will try to explain this roughly - as the syrup thickens, check if it starts coating the spoon. Take a little of this syrup between your thumb and forefinger( after cooling slightly slightly), press down, and lift your finger. Check if the syrup forms a strand between your thumb and forefinger.
- IF you see one strand, you have 'ek taari' or 'one strand' syrup. You want something which is slightly thicker than what you get with the one strand. The thicker the syrup, the more rapidly, it will harden. We want a medium syrup so that our roasted flours soak in it for a couple of hours and absorb all the sweetness. This way, the mixture also cools down enough to allow you to roll the ladus. If the syrup is too thick or hard, everything will harden into a solid ball and will not be pliable at all.
- After you determine that the syrup is a desired thickness, switch off the heat. Add the cashews, raisins and elaichi powder to the syrup. Add the roasted flours. Start mixing immediately.
- This is the crucial point in this recipe. If your syrup is very thick, everything will start hardening and will dry up at once. You will have to start rolling the ladus right away. Ideally, the mixture will be a thick liquid that you can cover and let rest for some time - anything between half an hour to four hours.
- Everyone has their own tack here that they develop over years of making delicious ladus. Keep checking periodically to see if the mixture has solidified and come together like a dough ball.
- Start rolling the ladus. Take a small amount in the palm of your hand, squeeze as you would squeeze a ball and roll on your palm to form round balls.
- Place on a plate and let cool.
I wished to share this simple and traditional recipe for rava besan ladu. The description here is a bit crude, and especially esoteric to someone not exposed to Indian cooking and I apologize for it. I am not a pro at this myself, and only ever make this once a year. I have tried to describe this as simply as possible, and am posting this for the benefit of anyone who wants to try it out.