Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweet Indian Holiday Treats, Gluten Free!

   As I've said, I've rarely met a holiday I didn't like. Bring out the lights and the fun and the people and the food... I'm there. I'm also a very cheap date. Nothing has to be fancy to make me happy; it just has to be good. If stuff is good and sweet too, that's even better. This last week I've been making one of the tastiest holiday treats around... Indian Laddu. I've been making Laddu in honor of the Indian Feast of light Diwali, which has been going on  this last week. This photo has been making the rounds. Supposedly it's a NASA photo of India during Diwali celebration.

   Actually the story behind the photo is a myth. For the real explanation click here. I still think the photo is pretty cool however.

   Meanwhile, back at our house, it hasn't exactly been holiday time. We're nearly done with this draft of our script and are getting ready to turn it in. This means long days of work. Now contrary to what some may think, writing is not glamorous. Alan and I have been earning our living as  screenwriters for many years and I can tell you that writing is like digging ditches with your head... and that's on a good day. One of the best portrayals of a writer I've ever seen is in the film Adaptation. This is the life of a writer...unvarnished.

   He mentions a muffin. Yes, a muffin. That is something to look forward to in a writer's day. We need that little treat to keep us going. So in this last week, even though we haven't had the lights and the fun and the partying of Diwali, we have had the treats! The other day, I made some Rava Laddu. Yesterday I decided to make something that my friend Terri, who has to follow a gluten free diet, could enjoy. What better than a tasty festive Diwali Laddu made with gluten-free chickpea flour.

  The great thing about these laddu, is that they can be made very, very, very quickly. So if you've got an hour, you've got  a great dessert.

Vegan Besan Laddu

Here's what to do:
In a skillet or pan, melt a bit of butter and fry:
   2 Tbs of chopped chashews
   2  Tbs of sultana raisins.
When the raisins get plump and the nuts start to darken, take them off the flame and set them aside.

In a skillet, wok or kadhai heat 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick) until it foams and clarifies.

When the butter has melted add in:
  1 cup of sifted besan (chickpea flour aka gram flour aka garbanzo bean flour)
This type of flour is available at Indian markets of course, and now because of the availability of gluten-free flours, it's  also found at most mainstream supermarkets.
Add the flour a bit at a time on a low heat, and keep stirring. The idea is that the flour should not roast or brown, just turn a nice, aromatic golden color.
If you need to add a bit more melted butter to things to keep the flour moist, no problem, just do so.
When the flour is nice and golden, take the pan from the fire and set it aside. When things have cooled a bit add in:
 1 cup of powdered sugar

  1/2 tsp of ground cardamom
  The fried cashews and raisins.
Mix everything together well. If you need more melted butter to make things hold together... go ahead.
Separate the dough into 12 portions...

...and roll each one into  a ball.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Let them warm a bit before eating.
I like to serve them with a nice cup of unsweetened chai.

   Believe me, when one is banging one's head against a plot point at 3 in the afternoon, there's nothing better than one of these little beauties. And they're not just for Diwali either. I'm planning on making these for my Christmas parties also.

   So what am I working on now... besides the script? A couple of surprises including koftas, India's answer to gnocchi, and something I'm surprised I hadn't thought of before. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. I love the yellow color on these treats!

  2. Loved the 'dabba' part-love the connotations of laddu's in Christmas tins! Delicious!

  3. wow delicious ladoos,u have done it perfectly...



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