Celebrations, happiness, joy meeting up with family and friends. Could you think of a better way to spend this beautiful and auspicious occasion? This is one of my favourite times of the year and takes me back to my home in India. There are always lots of sweets, new clothes, family & friends over every evening and loads of gifts exchanged. A puja to mark the event and rangoli adorned at the entrance; also ‘faraal’ or huge tins of snacks (savoury & sweet) were always stocked up for when we had guests coming over. Though I reckon that was our excuse! I enjoyed having such a huge stack of sweet meats and savoury varieties at home to delve into as & when I felt like. My favourites always include karanji, chakli, anarsa, laddoos, shankarpali. And there’s a separate list of my must have Indian desserts too.
Diwali; the Indian festival of lights is about bringing people together and sharing in the food feast, festivities and prosperity for the coming year. I intend on doing that and much more this year to revel in the excitement of the festival I so associate with my childhood. This week there are candles & diyas lit in my home and sweets galore but to make it that tad bit special I’m also doing little food hampers for some close friends. I have made a grated raw mango chutney in little jars; will also be putting together ready masala chai pouches & naankhatai biscuits to enjoy with that warm cup of tea. I’m including one of my favourite Indian sweets – Besan Laddoos. These gram flour & melted butter roasted beauties are moreish and very very addictive. One is never enough (at least in my books!) Very easy to make and they keep for weeks in an airtight container.
Here’s wishing you a very Happy Diwali with joy and prosperity (and loads of sweets) coming your way…
Ingredients (Makes 24 Laddoos)
150gms unsalted butter
300gms besan or gram flour
4 tbsp semolina
200gms caster sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp chopped pistachios
2 tbsp raisins
In a heavy bottom non stick sauce pan heat the butter on a low flame. Add the gram flour & semolina stirring well and breaking any lumps. Now roast the gram flour on a medium flame for 10-12 minutes stirring continuously until the colour of the besan starts to change & becomes caramel in colour and smells sweet. This might seem like its taking a long time but the result is well worth it. Don’t be tempted to get the heat on high as it can burn quite quickly. Once it’s roasted turn the heat off and let it cool slightly for 5minutes.
It should still be warm at this stage. Now add the sugar, cardamom powder, pistachios and raisins. Stir well making sure all the sugar has dissolved and the mix isn’t too grainy. When the besan is cool enough to handle take small portions and roll them into a ball.
Besan Laddoos are ready to eat. Store them in an air tight container and they will keep for a couple of weeks.