Monday, January 16, 2017

Recipe: Dinkache Laadoo

Dinkache laadoo (edible gum laddoos) are a Maharashtrian delicacy and is specially made for pregnant and nursing mothers in that part of the world. They are also a great supplement to have for those preparing for and recovering from illnesses and surgeries, and a good supplement for anemics. Unlike most other laddoos, very easy to prepare, and one of my favorites 😃

Here's the recipe, the way mother makes it. There are several other ingredients people like to add such as wheat, dry fruits, and cardamom; this one is probably the most basic, and except the Dink itself, uses ingredients that one would easily find in an Indian kitchen.

Ingredients (makes ~30-35 medium sized laddoos):
Dried coconut (Kopra) - 150 gm, grated or coarsely ground (the ones sold in the market usually have much higher quantity of kopra because it's inexpensive)
Dry dates (Kharik in Marathi) - 200 gm. Break them open using a hammer or something and remove the seeds
Almonds - 100 gm, broken into pieces
Edible gum (Dink) - 100 gm
Clarified butter (ghee) - as needed, for frying. Homemade ghee is the best if you have the luxury of time and energy to prepare it!
Jaggery - 150 gm, this is an approximate. Just use a little less than the total quantity of the rest of the ingredients combined. Tip: Do NOT use chikki jaggery. It's meant for chikkis and til laddoos only.

In a frying pan and on medium flame, heat ghee and roast the kharik, kopra, almonds separately, not together. A pan made of iron such as a cast iron skillet would be the best, since anything cooked in iron cookware absorbs the metal and enhances its ferric value of the food being prepared.

Roast the dried dates till they turn light red in color. I accidentally almost burned a few of them, that's why they look a bit darker than they should.

Same for the almonds and kopra.

There's a huge difference in the color of the coconut once it is roasted -

For the Dink, once the ghee is hot, reduce the heat to low and take it off the pan once it puffs up - it shouldn't change color.

Allow all of these to cool a bit and grind the roasted almonds and dried dates to a chunky coarse texture. Mix all the ingredients together. So the only thing that isn't ground or beaten or broken up is the Dink. That's because it becomes crunchy once roasted and so feels good to have that bite-y feeling.

Finally, get to the jaggery. Break the lump into small pieces and melt it, keeping the heat to medium-low. High heat will burn it!

Mix the dry ingredients with the molten jaggery and take it off the heat. Allow this hot mixture to cool just to the point where you can hold it with bare hands. Too cool and the jaggery will have solidified too much - if this happens, heat up the mixture and melt the jaggery once again.

Once the mixture is cool enough, make medium size balls. 

TIP 1: If the jaggery is too less, the mixture won't bind together. If there is too much jaggery, the laddoos will become too sticky.

TIP 2: Let's say you run out of jaggery to add in and your mixture just won't bind. That's okay - you can eat the mixture like a nutrition powder 😎 I just like to use the laddoos as a measure of how much one should eat every day.

Final product - voila! 
These will taste better over time as the ghee is absorbed better, and in cold weather, they will last for upto 2 months outside the fridge.

Health benefits:
Kharik contains Vitamins A, B, E, K, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, selenuim (which is not easily found in vegetarian/vegan diets), magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fiber, and also work as great laxatives.

Jaggery is of course iron.

Ghee (not dalda) iron again,and calcium too.

Kopra contains HDL (good cholesterol), vitamin E, manganese, and there's a ginormous list of the health benefits of coconut in general which everyone knows and I'm too lazy to type here anyway.

Almonds - Vitamin E being the most important one

Dink - strengthens the backbone which is needed for pregnancy, accelerates convalescence, and for nursing mothers

Overall, Dinkache laddoos are great to improve immunity and build energy in the body. They are also an excellent stomach filling healthy snack. Hope you have fun making and eating them too!

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