Hello there folks, it's Diwali today!
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn that commemorates the victorious return of Lord Ram to his home town. It's one of the most popular festivals of Hindu's and spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. The celebration includes millions of lights shining on houses, doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period with puja (prayers), spectacular firework shows, rich family feasts that include traditional mithai (sweets) and gifts exchanged between everyone.
Today I made a rustic version of these rich Diwali mithais- Besan Ladoo (or Besan ka ladoo) as we say in hindi and I dare say a tad healthier. It's made with chickpea flour which makes it gluten and grain free and the best part is, it only involves a bit of roasting and gets done pretty fast. Most store bought one's I find are really hard to bit into, so I made sure mine are softer so my kids won't complain. To make it all the more healthy, I used raw sugar and almond milk for the binding part. Vegans can easily use melted margarine or vegetable oil instead of ghee which is what is always used in traditional Indian sweets. But trust me, these are going to be really yum and soft to the bite, so do give this recipe a try.
1/2 cup chickpea flour/ besan
2 Tablespoons desiccated coconut(dried small flakes , optional)
4-5 Tablespoons pure ghee/ vegetable oil (OR LESS)
1/4 cup ground raw sugar
1/4 teaspoons cardamom powder
dash of nutmeg powder
dash of Himalayan/pink salt
1/4 cup dairy/ almond milk/ coconut milk
Dry roast the chickpea flour for 5-10 minutes on a very low heat, while stirring occasionally. Add the desiccated coconut and ghee or vegetable oil, mix well and roast for 15 minutes. Press down and mix well so no lumps are formed. Add the ghee/ oil, raw sugar, salt and spices powders and mix it well. Roast until the colour changes. This might take 2-3 minutes more. Sprinkle the dairy on the mixture and mix.
Depending on the kind of chickpea flour you have, if you Ladoo mixture doesn't come together, add a few drops more of dairy, so it comes to a good binding consistency to shape them into balls. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a minute or so until warm enough for shaping.
Make small round balls of the mixture, I prefer making then into just the perfect bite sized pieces, as it's easy for kids to bite into. Most mithai shop ladoo's are much larger. Press or sprinkle pistachios on top. I got around 10 ladoo's of 3 cm diameter each.
Tip: Double or triple the recipe for a larger batch or for bulk cooking occasions. Avoid excessive ghee/ oil and sugar, I have used the minimum amount, try and add more dairy to balance it for the binding process. You can also use other dairy options for binding like Oats milk, coconut milk or rice milk. You can also try organic jaggery instead of raw sugar.