I didn't have much of a sweet tooth but India has converted me. The making of Indian sweets is truly an art form and secret recipes are handed down from generation to generation. Recipes for these truly decadent confections often range from complicated to more complicated. One of the only ones I've dared to make at home, without adult supervision, are these coconut ladoos. It's a simple recipe that only requires few ingredients but the result is a rich dessert with aromatic coconut and cardamom, lightly sweetened with jaggery. Jaggery is basically unheard of in the States, mainly because it's the sap of palm trees, like date palms or coconut palms. It tastes delicious and by adding it to water today, we can make a simple syrup to add it to our ladoos.
You can find jaggery at most Indian grocery stores (where it's called 'gur') and I've also spotted it at my normal grocery store in the "Goya" part of the store. If you can't find any, you can omit and use sugar. You just won't get the same color.
- 1 cup jaggery
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
- 2-3 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)
- In a pan, add jaggery with a little water and bring to boil.
- Heat the ghee in another pan and add grated coconut until toasted. Make sure to do it on low heat and stir often to avoid burning.
- Add jaggery syrup, salt, cardamom powder and mix well and cook it until the mixture becomes thick.
- Switch off the flame and allow it to cool.
- Apply some ghee to hands to avoid stickiness. Shape into small balls. You can store these in the fridge for up to a week.
- Optional garnishing: roll in un-toasted coconut and top with chopped nuts.
These are one of my favorites to make (and eat). I like to make them on special occasions and wrap them up in boxes to give as gifts but there are no hard and fast rules that stop me from enjoying them for no reason at all. I hope you enjoyed this recipe!