Recipe & Food Styling | Two Healthy Energy Ladoos and a trail of memories..
Summer vacations were always welcomed, when extended families and cousins would all come over to our large joint-family house for holidays in Bhilwara, Rajasthan.
The food granny cooked for us has a nostalgic feel to it. Slow simmered Kadhi in large matka (mud pot), Bajre ki roti with fresh white homemade butter and those desi ghee ke Ladoos..all the memories make me want to go back there.
We never used to like one specific ladoo made with methi (fenugreek) and would run away whenever we saw that round copper dabba full of those ladoos, in her hand.
She very often would bribe us with a small coin of 10 paise for gulping one Ladoo. We would happily oblige and quickly run away to fill our booty with many colourul golis (candies) from Lala ji’s shop at the corner of her house, with that 10 paisa 🙂
But then, over a period of time, I started liking those methi, gond (edible gum) and dry fruit Ladoos. I don’t want to even recall how many of these ladoos I had gulped during my pregnancy.
Tanya, who was the coordinator for the project did a wonderful work by deciding upon the entire layout according to the states in which the particular spice is used.
I could manage to click this work in progress picture with my phone from Kunal’s laptop in between the shoot.
Team behind the shoot…
1. Energy Ladoos
Methi ladoo is a real labour of love and was generally made during winter months. Traditionally the fenugreek seeds are soaked in milk for a day, dried, powdered and fried in equal quantity of ghee for that pleasing aroma and less bitter taste.
I don’t have the luxury of time and patience to try out the traditional method of ladoo making. And so, many of these age old recipes have been adopted and improvised in my kitchen according to my family preferences and the ingredients available in the city I live in. I can’t get frequent supply of gond (edible gum) or Makhana (lotus seeds) nor can I expect my pizza eating children to gulp those bitter tasting methi ladoos.
I try to keep the recipes simple and make small batches for better storage. I have a frequent access to some good organic palm jaggery in Chennai and use the same for most of my dessert recipes.
This jaggery or gur is made from collecting the sap from date palm tree and is normally sold in solid brown blocks and gives a wonderful flavor or brown sugar or molasses to the dishes. I added the same to Fenugreek ladoo recipe below.
These Ladoos are my lifeline, I pack a few with me to the sets during my outside shoots and keep munching on them the whole day. Easy to prepare and with a shelf life of over a month these Ladoos make a filling after school snack for children as well.
(30 small ladoos)
- 1 cup Almonds
- 1/4 cup Flax seeds
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 7-8 prunes
- 9-10 walnuts
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
Method; Dry roast almonds for 3-4 minutes in a pan on medium heat, take it out in a plate and let it cool.
Dry roast flax seeds for 3 minutes on medium heat and spread on a plate to cool.
Roughly chop prunes and raisins into small pieces.
Grind toasted almonds in a grinder till it becomes coarse powder. Add almonds in small batches in the grinder for better grinding.
Grind flax seeds and walnuts into coarse powder in the same grinder and take it out in a bowl.
Add honey, chopped prunes and raisins into the grinder and grind. It will be slightly tough to grind these wet ingredients.
Transfer the above ground mixture into a large bowl.
Add coarsely ground almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, cardamom powder into the above bowl and combine well.
Take small portions of the mixture and shape into tight balls using your palm. Moisture present in prunes, raisins and honey should be good enough to bind them into tight balls.
Store these energy ladoos into air tight container and keep refrigerated till use. It stays good for about a month.
2. Fenugreek Almond Ladoos aka Methi Badam ke Ladoos
This is a cheat version of traditional methi ladoos and has no remote connection with the original recipe which uses tons of fat and loads of time to prepare. But with the time I have in hand and the ingredients I could manage to get, these Ladoos severe me the best.
(make 20 small Ladoo)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup fenugreek powder
- 1/4 cup palm jaggery
- 2 tsp. dry ginger powder (optional)
- 2 tbsp ghee
Method; Dry roast almonds in a pan for 4-5 minutes on medium heat and make fine powder.
Grate palm jiggery in a bowl.
Heat ghee in a large pan and fry fenugreek powder in it till it turns light golden in colour.
Add grated jaggery, powdered almonds, ginger powder in the same pan and combine well with a ladle. Do not let the jaggery melt completely, take off the pan from flame as soon as all the ingredients come together.
Take small portions of the above mixture and make small ladoos when it is warm.
- Add white sugar if you cannot get palm jaggery for the 2nd recipe.
- Replace prunes with soft dates (medjool) if you wish for the first recipe.
- You can also add coarsely ground cashew nuts or pistachios in the first recipe.
- Grind fine powder of flax seeds in the first recipe if you don’t like the chewy texture of it.
- Sprinkle a few drops of warm milk if you are not able to bind the mixture into Ladoos for both the recipes.
- These Ladoos sum up as a healthy festive treat also.