DRIED FRUIT AND NUT DESSERT BALLS (Ladoos)
- 1 cup raw nuts (ie. almonds, pistachios, cashews)
- 2 pinches of fleur de sel or flaky sea salt
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup dried Medjool Dates
- 1/4 cup dried apricots (sub dried figs, cherries, or cranberries)
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon ghee (sub unsalted butter or coconut oil)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
Put a cast-iron frying pan or heavy pan over medium heat. When hot, add the nuts. Stir them around until they are roasted and give off a nutty aroma, a few minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. When cool, coarsely chop the nuts. Mix the nuts with the fleur de sel.
Pulse the coconut in a food processor for 2 or 3 seconds. You don't want to powder it, just make the shreds shorter in length so they are easier to work with. Place the coconut on a plate.
Pulse the dates and apricots in the food processor until they form a pastelike mixture that clumps together. Spread the mixture evenly in the processor and pour the nuts on top, along with the cardamom powder. Pulse until the mixture all comes together. You don't want to powder the nuts, so monitor closely by pulsing for a few seconds at a time and checking the consistency.
Put the ghee in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. When melted, add the date and nut mixture. Mix well to incorporate the ghee evenly. Next, add the honey and mix well. The mixture will start to sizzle; stir and cook it for another minute.
Empty the dried fruit and nut mixture onto a plate. When cooled slightly but still warm to the touch, gather the mixture together with your hands. Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball, then roll the ball in the dried coconut. Repeat with the remaining fruit and nut mixture and coconut. (If the coconut is not sticking well, grease your hands with a little ghee or coconut oil. Rub the outside of a ladoo to moisten it, and then roll it in the coconut shreds.)
You can store the ladoos in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
* Recipe reprinted with permission from Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal.
I am going to keep this post short and sweet. I’m currently in Paris with my mom, sister, grandmother and best friend celebrating three birthdays. (There will be a post all about that very soon.) But now isn’t the time to talk about Paris. Now is the time to talk about India, and London, and these killer ladoos.
The closest I’ve ever been to India is London. Meaning, I’ve been nowhere close to India but there is some amazingly authentic Indian food in London. When I think about hard enough I can still smell the curry in Brick Lane Market. So in honor of my first return trip to London in four years, I thought I’d share a recipe from one of my new favorite cookbooks : Vibrant India. (It just came out recently and you should BUY IT.)
There is something so comforting about Indian food to me. It feels familial and cozy and special. Like, in the States, theses would be called “energy balls” and there would be two steps – throw in a blender and roll into balls. But these ladoos have intention. They have heart. And they have cardamom. It’s amazing.
I used figs in mine instead of apricots and it brought this deep rich dessert flavor. I’m sure it’s equally as good as apricots, but geeze. I’m in love with this recipe. The steps are semi-complicated for an “energy ball” type recipe, but stick with it. The ghee, the toasting of the nuts, the heating of the paste – it’s all worth it. It’s all apart of the magic of Indian food.
That’s what this whole cookbook is to me. It’s a story of family, food, and intention written by Chitra Agrawal of Brooklyn Delhi. The photos are bright, the recipes are unique, and it’s completely vegetarian. So basically we all need it on our shelves. K bye.