No Diwali at our house was complete without these snowy white, crumbly mouthfuls. So that was what I turned to when I decided to make some sweets to celebrate Diwali.
The customary consultation with mum was complete and I rolled up my sleeves and got started.
Roasted the semolina, tossed in the coconut, got the sugar syrup to ‘thread consistency‘, chopped the nuts and had the spices and saffron all ready to be added. It was going brilliantly so far and I was secretly puffing with pride at my first attempt. Until it was time to roll the mixture in to the traditional laddoos or balls. No matter how hard I tried they wouldn’t hold shape but crumbled away like little sand castles. The husband stepped in to help and was managing to get them to hold form but they still looked a bit dry and misshapen and not quite like the laddoos we were used to.
A panicked phone call to my mum followed and she casually said, “Oh, I normally add some milk to wet the mixture a bit but I left that out of the recipe I gave you because you can’t have dairy anymore. You can sprinkle a little water if you like.” A simple enough solution but what a difference it can make!
And that is why I blog! To keep track of these little crucial nuggets of ‘make or break’ ingredients and techniques for the next time I make these family delights. 🙂
You can see the difference in the pictures below.
Anyway, onwards to the recipe.
250 grams semolina
1 cup grated coconut (half a coconut, approximately)
2 tablespoons ghee
250 grams sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom seeds and nutmeg (velchi-jaiphal)
a few strands of saffron
30 mls milk or water
1/4 cup raisins
a handful of almonds and pistachios (chopped)
1. Make a sugar syrup with the sugar and water until you reach thread consistency.
2. In the meanwhile, warm the ghee and roast the semolina for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the semolina starts to change colour to a light pink.
2. Add in the grated coconut and continue roasting on a low flame. Mix well so that the mixture resembles coarse dry sand.
3. Once the sugar syrup is ready, add in the saffron and spices. Give it a stir. Then add in the semolina-coconut mixture. Mix well until it now resembles wet sand. If it is too dry at this stage, you can add in some milk or water by the spoon until you get a damp mixture.
4. Cool it enough to be able to dip your hand in it. Add the chopped nuts and raisins and ensure that they are well distributed.
5. Form the mixture into 12- 14 balls and set aside to cool.
Stored in the refrigerator these keep well for 4-5 days. You’ll be lucky if they aren’t polished off by day 2 so if you want to make them last longer just make a larger batch!