This poor blog has been neglected for over 2 years....it's about time to bring it back, mostly because I need an outlet for my obsession with taking photos of food that does not directly involve FB. I'm going to start out small, since I don't have much time during the school year for lengthy explanations and recipes. I will mostly post photos of food with short explanations and recipes. Feedback of all kinds is much appreciated, since I would like to write a blog that you would like to read ...enjoy!
For my first post after the long hiatus I will start with my newest adventure in Indian cooking: laddu. Laddu are sweet, delicious desserts made with some type of flour, sugar, and ghee. My first batch were made as a spontaneous birthday gift, so I made them with what I had in the cupboard: whole wheat flour, brown sugar, palm sugar, raisins, toasted sesame seeds, and ghee. I actually had to make the ghee myself, since I began after the local Indian grocery store was closed last Sunday. Making ghee is a process unto itself, so I will start with that...
Ghee is basically clarified butter that has been cooked longer and reduced more. It has a golden color, deliciously strong butter flavor, and a higher smoke point. As it is cooked, the milk proteins separate out and are strained from the butter. In the recipe I used, this happens twice and the second time the protein on the bottom of the pan toasts slightly - you have to be careful not to burn them. Making ghee is actually quite easy, and less expensive than purchasing it. Time is the one drawback to making your own....the entire process took me about 15-20 minutes.
Once the ghee was made I searched for laddu recipes using whole wheat flour. I found some, but of course they included other ingredients I didn't have, and most involved making the laddu and then frying them in more ghee. Since I wasn't keen on making more ghee or frying, I just combined recipes that involved no frying with those that had the ingredients I wanted.
This is the basic recipe I used to make these wheat flour laddu. I used cardamom, but not milk masala, and I added raisins and toasted sesame seeds, and rolled them in powdered sugar. This made them easier to package since I did not have time to let them cool properly and didn't want them to stick together.
I would say my first attempt at laddu was a success. They were much prettier in person, since my retro fluorescent kitchen lighting gives them a greenish tint in the photos. I took them to a birthday party, a little nervous about how they would be received. Luckily, they were a hit! My favorite comment of the evening was "These are really good, actually!"