Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Sweets, Vegan

Dates and Peanuts Laddoo

Dates and Peanuts LaddooDoubt if there can be a simpler, healthier, and tastier laddoo than this one. It is protein-rich and sugar free. I learnt this recipe from a Gujarati friend who is a very big mungphali/singdana/peanuts fan. Natural sweetness of dates, flavor and crunchiness of peanuts with a hint of salt, made with just two ingredients.

Ingredients:
Roasted peanuts – 400 gm
Sesame seeds (white or black) – 50-70 gm
Seedless Dates – 400 gm

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 5-10 mins
Yield: 30 laddoos

Dates and Peanuts Laddoo

Method:
Lightly roast the roasted peanuts. You may add ghee if you prefer but it is enough to just dry roast the peanuts because the oil from the peanut is sufficient to make the laddoos. Although the peanuts are roasted, it is good to roast them again just before making the laddoo. When the peanuts cool down, remove the skin, put in a mixer jar, and grind to a coarse powder. Keep aside. Dry roast the sesame seeds until they start leaving an aroma and popping up (roughly 5 mins on medium fire).
Check the seedless dates carefully to ensure that there are no hard parts or seeds present. Add the seedless dates into the mixer jar and grind to a smooth paste. Add some part of the coarsely ground peanuts into the mixer and grind a little along with the dates mixture to blend both the ingredients. Remove this mixture from the jar and mix well with the remaining coarsely powdered peanuts. Add the roasted sesame seeds to this mixture. I do not prefer to pulse the sesame seeds in the mixer as I like to the taste of biting into the roasted sesame seeds. Mix all the ingredients well and break lumps, if any. Taste a little of the mixture and blend and add more dates if you prefer more sweetness. Take handful of the mixture and shape into laddoos. Store in an airtight container. Will stay good up to 10 days. They taste very similar to Snickers yet totally sin-free. Even a “dates-hater” like me is unable to stay away from snacking frequently on these.

Notes: I used 200 gms salted peanuts and 200 gms unsalted peanuts. So there was a hint of salt in the laddoo just to balance the sweetness.

Recipe courtesy: Srushti Desai

Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets, Tiffin

Sweet Beaten Rice Flakes (Aval Vilayichathu)

Most South Indian households stock up on beaten rice. When an unexpected guest arrives, beaten rice flakes come to your rescue. You can make delicious items out of this inexpensive item, like upma, cutlet, a sweet, or even payasam (kheer). Kanda (onion) poha and batata (potato) poha are favorite Maharashtrian breakfast items made using beaten rice flakes. Kanda poha is moistened poha cooked in a tadka of sauteed onion sprinkled with coriander leaves, some lemon juice, and a few peanuts – definitely a wholesome breakfast.

aval vilayichathu

When my friend came to visit, she brought along with her some organic beaten rice flakes. My mother makes sweet beaten rice flakes often and it is a favorite in our household. It is a common neivedyam (offering to God) and a favorite of Lord Krishna. I suggested to my friend that we use the organic variety to make the sweet beaten rice. I shared with her my mother’s method of making aval nanachathu. Though Kerala is a small state as compared to other states in India, you will find difference in taste of food every 100 kms or so. Right from the chutney, sambar, and the type of rice served, to the kind of items served in a sadya, recipes and tastes differ across the length and breadth of this blessed little state. My friend’s sweetened beaten rice recipe differed from my mother’s. I told her to teach me her version which is called Aval Vilayichathu. Does anyone know the difference between aval vilayichathu and aval nanachathu? Here is the recipe to her version.

Ingredients:

Beaten rice (brown/white) flakes – 3 cups
Jaggery – 1 cup (you can alter this quantity to suit your taste)
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Chana dal/split chick peas/kadala paruppu – 2 tbsp
Ghee/clarified butter – 2 tsp
Water – 1 cup

Method:

Put the jaggery pieces in water and melt it on low flame. Strain the solution into a wide pan. Keep this pan on medium fire and let the jaggery solution thicken. When the jaggery solution thickens to a syrup. Check for one-thread consistency (take a drop of the jaggery solution in a spoon. Let it cool a bit and then touch it with a clean forefinger and then touch your forefinger and your thumb together and pull them apart gently. If the solution forms a thread between your two fingers, then it has reached thread consistency). Add grated coconut and stir. Add the beaten rice flakes, mix, and cook over a low flame, stirring constantly to coat the beaten rice with jaggery and coconut. Add cardamom powder. When the mixture thickens, turn off the fire.

In a small pan, heat ghee. When it is hot, add chana dal and roast them golden brown. Remove the chana dal from ghee and add to the sweetened beaten rice flakes mixture. Add sesame seeds to the hot ghee and roast lightly. Be careful not to burn the seeds. Pour the ghee and sesame seeds on to the sweetened beaten rice flakes mixture. Mix well.

This can be stored in the refrigerator for a month. You can take out required quantities and steam or warm in a microwave and use.

Below is my mother’s version, which is simpler. This one stays good only for a day.

Ingredients:

Beaten rice (brown/white) flakes – 3 cups
Jaggery – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Ghee (optional) – 1 tsp
Water – 1-1/2 cup

Method:

Sprinkle small quantities of water on the beaten rice and use your hand to mix well and moisten the beaten rice. Close with a lid and keep aside. Put the jaggery pieces in water and melt it on low flame. Strain the solution into a wide pan. Keep this solution in the pan on medium fire and let the jaggery solution thicken. When the jaggery solution thickens to a syrup. Check for one-thread consistency (as mentioned earlier). When the jaggery solution reaches thread consistency, add the moistened beaten rice flakes and stir well to coat the beaten rice flakes with the jaggery syrup. Add grated coconut and cardamom powder and mix well. You can add ghee if you choose to as this tastes good even without the ghee.

Yet another method of making sweet beaten rice is to just scrape/powder the jaggery pieces and mix it well with the poha. Use some amount of warm milk or water to moisten this mixture. Add grated coconut and a quick and yummy snack is ready.

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