I absolutely love coconut, nutty, mild and intoxicating. It reminds me of my college days in coastal city of Mangalore,India. This is unquestionably the simplest recipe and a breeze to make yet the taste is veritably ambrosial. Ladoo is a generic term for a small dessert in India shaped like a truffle and there are like gazillion types with different ingredients, nuts and flours.Stuffing them with rose petals jam called gulkand is completely optional but adds another level of kaleidoscopic flavor. Similarly, cardamom an optional ingredient has a complex flavor very difficult to describe but comes with an amazing capability to take mundane foods to a whole different level, be it a savory curry or a simple Indian masala chai. Spices play a very crucial role in elevating a dish from a simple to something our mind will savor forever.
I have been making them so long time without a proper recipe so the source is little hazy. I like to make it with freshly grated coconut. I know grating a coconut is labor of love but results are worth all those efforts. I have made them with unsweetened shredded coconut also called desiccated coconut and results are equally good.
- 200 grams/ 2 1/2 cups freshly grated coconut (removed the brown part for a snow-white color) or desiccated coconut
- 396 grams/ 1 tin condensed milk
- 1/16 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional and freshly pounded)
- 5 tablespoon Rose petal jam/ Gulkand (optional)
- Heat a thick bottom pan on medium heat. Add grated coconut. Roast for 5 mins or until dry and making sure it stays white. Reserve ⅓ cup aside for rolling.
- Add condensed milk to the pan along with cardamom powder if using and salt. Stir continuously till the whole mixture form a big lump and leaves the side of the pan, 5 minutes. Put the mixture into another bowl and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- Divide the mixture for one inch balls from the mixture, flatten it to a small disk. Put ¼ tablespoon of the gulkand and roll it so that the jam is completely enclosed, roll them in reserved coconut. If you are not using the jam just form balls and roll them in reserved coconut.
Storage/Serving: Up to five days in refrigerator and get to room temperature before serving
Note: Gulkand can be found in an Indian grocery shop. Unsweetened coconut/ desiccated coconut is available in ethnic stores and also from Bob Red Mills.