This series is dedicated to preparing some of the most popular classical Indian desserts with a focus on healthy, fresh ingredients that bring the true flavors of these sweets to life! Indian desserts have a reputation for putting people to bed, mostly because of all the excessive dairy and oil that goes into them. We’re here to show you how to make these desserts so much better, and we kicked off the series with a refreshing take on carrot halwa, one of the most popular Indian desserts of all time. If you haven’t had a chance to make it, you’ll love our recipe! Don't forget to check out the other recipes in the series including Kaju Katli, Phirni, Shrikhand and Jalebi. For our sixth piece in the series, we’re tackling Rava Laddoo.
Think of the variety of Indian sweets out there, and laddoos are likely among the first that come to mind. These round, colourful and fragrant sweets are the Indian equivalent of bliss balls - rolled to perfection, and characterised by that distinct touch of cardamom you find in almost every traditional Indian sweet. What truly makes laddoos special is their versatility. Walk into a sweet shop, and you’ll see endless varieties, ranging from laddoos made of besan (chickpea flour), rava (semolina), boondi, sesame, and coconut, among several others.
We’ve chosen to veganise ‘Rava Laddoo’, as I feel it’s got a distinct taste and mouthfeel. When you bite into one, you’d expect something dense because that’s what it looks and feels like at first - but you soon realise that it is a soft, powdery, melt-in-your-mouth ball of goodness, with just a bit of crunch from the toasted cashews to get that perfect balance.
Milk and ghee have always been seen as some of the most basic ingredients when it comes to making laddoos. Given the number of people now starting to question the need for animal products, such traditional recipes can be redefined! I knew that coconut oil would be a great substitute, but the recipe still had to be crafted with a lot of care. In fact the first try resulted in a crumbly disaster because the coconut oil refused to hold the laddoos together - but I managed to figure out one great little trick and can't wait to share it with you guys.
Serves: 8 pcs
Active Time: 30 minutes
- ½ cup rava (sooji or semolina)
- ½ cup powdered jaggery, sieved
- 2 tsp powdered almonds
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- 5 tsp cold-pressed coconut oil + ½ tsp
- 1½ tsp coconut milk
- ¼ cup cashews, crushed
- Very tiny pinch of salt
- Sieve the jaggery into a large glass bowl and keep aside.
- In a small pan, lightly toast the crushed cashews in ½ tsp of coconut oil, until golden-brown, and keep aside.
- In another clean and dry pan, lightly toast the rava until it gets a mild reddish tinge, about 5 minutes of constant stirring.
- Once it’s done, allow the rava to cool down for 5 minutes, and then process it in a blender until it reaches a very fine consistency.
- Mix into the bowl of sieved jaggery.
- Add the powdered cardamom and powdered almond, and mix until combined. Make sure to add just the tiniest pinch of salt possible.
- Finally, add the coconut milk and coconut oil, crushed cashews, and stir until combined.
- At this stage, it might seem too soft and wet to work with, but the trick is to refrigerate this mixture for a good 15-20 minutes, during which the coconut oil solidifies.
- Once you take the glass bowl of the refrigerator, the rava laddoo batter would’ve become much more solid and easy to work with. Press and roll the batter into 1” balls very carefully, and making sure to refrigerate each one immediately after rolling.*
- Take them out of the refrigerator only when they’re to be eaten/served.
*Coconut oil is what holds these laddoos together, but it can only do this when it is solid. For that reason, these laddoos need to be constantly refrigerated. Also it’s important to use organic, cold-pressed coconut oil because of its milder flavour.