Submitted by Amelia Jyotsna Tummalapalli of Memphis, Tenn.
We are Hindus. Our family celebrates Pancha Ganapathi from Dec. 21-25. This is a special time when we ask our relatives, friends and business associates to forgive us for anything we may have done wrong. We make and share sweets with all of these people, and the children get gifts for five days. We decorate our homes with lights and colorful handmade decorations. We listen to music, attend dances and go to temple during this time to pray to Ganapathi (also called Ganesha). We enjoy besan laddu during this time because Ganapathi loves sweets!
1 cup ghee (clarified butter)
3 cups chickpea flour, called besan (can be found at Indian groceries)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
Heat ghee in a pan on medium. Stir besan flour into ghee and cook until brown but not burned. This will take approximately 15 minutes, but you may need to use more or less cooking time.
Remove pan from heat, add sugar and cardamom to make a large dough ball. Don't be afraid to use your hands to make this dough ball. Allow to cool.
Rub a small amount of ghee into your hands. Take small walnut-size amounts of dough and form them into balls. You will need to pass the dough back and forth between your hands to form a firm ball. This is a great time to involve the kids in the process.
Once all of the dough has been made into balls, you can choose your topping.
My kids like sugar-coated besan laddu. Just after making the laddu, drop it into a small bowl of sugar, preferably turbinado sugar, which has larger crystals.
The time-honored way of decorating laddu is by barely dipping the laddu into ghee and then into a bowl of finely chopped pistachio nuts.
No matter how you choose the final stage of making besan laddu, make sure that you share it with your family and friends! This may be their first Indian sweet and indeed a sweet memory.
If you have any besan laddu remaining, store in an airtight container.