Oh the smell of besan ke laddoo….it is intoxicating. As soon as the box is opened, eager hands reach out to grab their share. This is the story that happened everytime I reached my hostel…..whether while doing engineering or doing MBA. My mother would say that true love is shown in the amount of fat put in laddoo….it should be overflowing with pure desi ghee. She would pack besan ke laddoo every semester I spent away from home. They became very popular among my friends, so much so that she would be requested to pack a separate box just for my friends.
Once in MBA, I brought my box of laddoos to my friends. One of them, Chris, was from South India where this sweet is not made and said that he loved the laddoos very much. I casually told him he could have the whole box. You should have seen his face. His eyes became so big and round and the surprise on his face quickly changed to bliss. He looked like a small kid who had received his Christmas wish….he he he. He just gathered the box in his arms and held it tight and would not give even a single piece to anyone else. But the best part was yet to come. Another friend was celebrating his birthday that day and invited us. In his classic style, C took out one and only one laddoo and handed it to the birthday guy as thanks for the treat. We all could not help laughing. I tell you these laddoos can bring out the child in anyone.
They retain their goodness for 3-4 months if stored in an air-tight container. It is the quality of ghee that exalts them to their status. The purer the ghee, the better the taste. They are the perfect North Indian sweet suitable for any ocassion.
1 kg besan (bengal gram flour)
1 kg sugar
1 cup almonds
250 gms ghee
Heat the ghee in a large pot. When it is heated, add the besan and keep stirring it continuously on a low flame. This is a slow process and you might be tempted to put the flame on high. Besan easily gets burnt which will spoil the dish. So keep stirring the besan in the pot till it changes color and a beautiful smell emanates. It will become a lump and will be able to hold together.
Grind the sugar in a mixer along with the cardamoms. The quatity of sugar required depends on taste. Someone might like very sweet laddoos in which case more sugar will be required. So keep some extra on the side if you feel the need to add more just in case. Chop the almonds finely. You can also add raisins and cashewnuts.
Take a small portion in the palm of you hand and shape it into a small ball that fits in your palm. Even out the cracks by pressing the ball lightly with your hand.
The laddoos can be decorated by placing half an almond or a cashewnut on top.