Showing posts with label fast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fast. Show all posts

Jun 10, 2016

Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos

dates puffed rice cereal sweet dessert ramadan easy laddoo balls recipe

"Laddoos" or "laddus" are ball shaped sweets popular in South Asia. Easy, eggless, and no bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for Ramadan or any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.

Here I've taken an old fashioned American recipe and "Desi-fied" it a little with cardamom and ghee. Variously called "humdingers" or simply "date balls" these tasty treats graced many a Thanksgiving and Christmas platter in my home when I was growing up in the US. For some reason we Americans love breakfast cereal in our sweets. Dates and rice are familiar favorites to the Desi palate so these are sure to please all around. 

Truly a crowd pleaser, this recipe was originally from my 1970's 4H cookbook. However, I've been making this for so long I know it by heart. From what I understand this recipe has been around with minor variations since the 1920's in the US. In the US you can buy 8oz bags of pitted dates that measure to about a cup which is what this recipe was written for. Pitted dates are not available in South Asia so I'd recommend using "wet pack" dates as shown in the above photo. They are fairly inexpensive and are very good quality for use in baking and cooking. I do have to pit them myself which is a bit of a sticky chore. The bag you see in the photo is the standard 500g package available here which yields about 2 cups of chopped and pitted dates. When using the 500g bag as shown in the photo I simply double the ingredients in the recipe below. If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee. These are so yummy and in less than an hour you can easily whip up about 48 to 50 laddoos for any special occasion or just an after school treat!

1/2 C butter, ghee, or coconut oil
3/4 C sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
7 - 10 green cardamoms/elaichi, seeds removed & coarsely ground (optional)
1 C dates, chopped & pitted
3 C rice crispy cereal
1 C desiccated coconut or 1/2 C powdered sugar

Here's what to do:
1) In a large heat safe mixing bowl measure out rice crispy cereal.

2) In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar, dates, salt, vanilla, cardamom, and butter or ghee.

3) Over medium heat bring to simmer while stirring constantly. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes,  keep stirring constantly so the mixture does not scorch.

4) Remove cooked date mixture from heat, immediately pour over pre measured rice crispy cereal in heat proof bowl. Mix well with wooden or silicone spoon. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

5) When mixture has cooled roll by tablespoonful into walnut sized balls. I use a tablespoon sized cookie scoop to get uniform amounts.

5) Roll the balls in desiccated coconut or powdered sugar as desired. A round cake tin or shallow bowl works well for this. Keeps well in a sealed airtight for up to two weeks. (But they only last about two days around our house because everyone eats them.)

Helpful hints:
If you wish to make these vegan just substitute coconut oil or a good quality vegetable margarine for the butter or ghee.

Feb 8, 2016

Our Daily Dal (Mixed Lentils)

masoor toor dal split peas recipe

Dal is the comfort food of South Asia. Mixed hulled or split lentils and peas of all sorts are cooked to a soup like consistency and served with steaming white rice, pickles/acchaari, a fresh chutney/chatni, a serving of sabzi/vegetables, and perhaps some roti or pappadums. Dal is a healthy, affordable, protein and fiber rich staple of South Asian cuisines. This is our usual recipe, it's super simple and very tasty.

2 TBS ghee or cooking oil
1/2 C onion, diced finely
2 green chilis, chopped
1 tomato, finely diced
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2tsp paprika + 1/2tsp cayenne)
1 C masoor dal/red lentils
1/2 C chana dal/split yellow peas
1/2 C moong dal/hulled green gram
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) In a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat ghee or cooking oil. Fry diced onion until translucent.

2) Add tomatoes, green chilis, garlic paste, and salt while continuing to fry for 3 more minutes or until tomatoes are softened. Stir in Kashmiri mirch and turmeric powder, fry for 2 minutes.

3) Add dals to frying mixture plus 8 C water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes to make sure no dal sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add more water if necessary.
Looks a little watery at this stage.
4) If dal is to desired thickness, salt to taste and your dal is ready. If you wish your dal to be thinner, add more water. If you wish your dal to be thicker continue cooking until liquid evaporates to desired consistency. The mattar dal/split yellow peas are supposed to remain a bit chewy while the masoor dal/red lentils and moong dal/hulled green gram turn velvety smooth.
The dal is done!
Helpful Hints:
Here in South Asia we have to rinse dals thoroughly and look for insects, pebbles, twigs, or stems. I learned this the HARD way (pun intended). Please use your discretion as to whether your dal needs cleaning.

I would not recommend cooking this type of dal in a pressure cooker. Tiny particles of masoor dal can clog the steam vent leading to a possible explosion. I've never heard of this actually happening but that's what it said in the booklet that came with my pressure cooker.

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