This time of the year is the best ever. Growing up, all year, apart from my birthday, the one thing that I looked forward to was, the festive season, all the way from September through to December. Yes, while growing up, we were punched in the face with exams bang in the middle of the season, but that was hardly a dampener.
Coming up is Diwali holidays! There is a nip in the air, the promise of brand new outfits and gifts, and loads and loads of goodies to gorge on without mom being all like, well, MOM about it. I grew up in Pune and I am a Bengali, so the goodies prepared for Diwali were always a mix of 2 cultures, viz. the Bengali and Maharashtrian fusion culture. It was awesome though, because I lived in an apartment complex of 12 houses and we all exchanged amazing platters of assorted goodies which I looked forward to.
On the anvil of the Diwali holidays, my mom and grandma would spend most of their time in the kitchen, churning out sweet and savoury treats one after another. The smell would just draw me towards the kitchen in the hope of getting some leftovers or scraping pots out to get a sample of those. Of course, I was only seen an intrusion to their meticulously planned cooking schedule, and, no sooner than I popped my head inside the kitchen door, one of them would rush out, sit me down, tie my pig-tails and send me off to play; no matter what time of the day it was. Come to think of it now, they were pretty cruel! Well, I didn’t mind back then, as long as they had my favourites ready for me to devour.
One of my favourites all these years was the coconut laddoo they made. OH MY GOD, even while writing, I have the images in my head and the taste teasing my palette. There were 2 kinds of coconut laddoos made at home. One was made from coconut and jaggery, and the other, from coconut, evaporated milk and condensed milk. I still remember, when the two ladies at home would retire for their afternoon siesta, I would sneak up and gobble some 5 to 6 laddoos at a go (surprising, I never did put on weight. Thanks to the lean genes I guess). And after a couple of days when they checked the boxes the laddoos were stored in, they always wondered what happened! Inevitably my dad and grandpa, had to bear the brunt of their wrath, because the ladies thought the gents had eaten the fruits of their labour, saved to be served to guests, while, I stood there being a silent observer of the drama unfolding. Okay, now before you judge me, I was only a little kid who didn’t want to be a part of an adult conversation! Actually, judge all you want but I loved those laddoos and, am totally unapologetic about polishing them off!
But well, over the years with me cooking an’ all, I thought why don’t we give these delicious treats a makeover and make them even more delectable than they already are. And given exploring aspects of food and flavour combinations, I thought I’ll make these with condensed milk and chocolates. So, I made an experimental batch of these and took them to my parents to taste. Believe you me, my mom who is quite conscious about what she eats and fairly critical about my creations (because she just can’t fathom the fact that I can cook!), really LOVED it.
With the experiment successful, I thought I should do you a good deed this coming Diwali, and share my secret, of the easiest and best recipe that you can brighten up peoples’ lives with. So here goes the delectable and unabashedly awesome coconut and chocolate laddoos.
Coconut and Chocolate Laddoos
Condensed Milk – 1 can
Butter – 3tbsp
70% Dark Chocolate – 1 ½ cup
Grated Fresh Coconut – 1 ½ cup
- First up, cut the chocolate into small pieces.
- Now, make sure you have a thick bottomed pan. In the pan pour the condensed milk and heat it on a low heat until warm.
- To the condensed milk add the butter, and let it melt slowly, again, on a low heat into the condensed milk. While doing this make sure you keep stirring and incorporating the butter, so it doesn’t separate or split.
- Now add the pieces of chocolate and let it melt into the mixture, again stirring (not vigorously), enough to incorporate the chocolate and have a cohesive mixture.
- Now turn off the heat and add 1 cup of the grated coconut into the mixture. Mix it well.
- Leave it to cool in the fridge for about 3 hours.
- Post that, take out the mixture and roll it into laddoos.
- Roll them on a bed of coconut and store them in jar in the fridge, or if you are like me, serve them and eat them immediately, or risk them be gone!
Tips and Facts
- The chocolate won’t turn hard because of the butter and condensed milk, but still, 2 to 3 hours should be enough. Don’t leave it for longer.
- Involve your kids in the process. Let them grate the coconut, make the laddoos, roll the laddoos in coconut, they will love the process and appreciate the effort more than you can imagine and yes, the will also be vigilantes, to make sure, the laddoos aren’t all gone.
- Please do use a good quality 70% dark cooking chocolate, because that will just help balance the sweetness of the condensed milk and you won’t be left with an overtly sweet laddoo.
- And lastly, as I always say, include your kids in the process, let them experience how it’s done. It is good fun, trust me. Don’t think of them as intruding, but involve them in the process and they will guard the goodies with all their might!
See, as I promised, simple and delicious. So, this festive season, take traditions and give them a makeover. If you are struggling with how to, simply follow the blog and equip yourself. Don’t give out your secret, but it would be nice if you shared the festive spirit. Give it a go, tell me how it was at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay abreast with deliciously twisted traditions! Until next time then.