Sometimes I just need something sweet. Healthy, sugar-free and low in fat are adjectives that simply don’t cut it. I want flavor, sweet, sweet flavor. I’m also a fan of the exotic and if that exotic presents itself in the form of coconut you can count me as a happy happy cook! Not long ago I stumbled upon an Indian delicacy called Rav Laddu and I simply had to try them. Sweet coconut balls flavored with far away flavors like cashews and cardamom that made my taste buds jump for joy. If you know me at all, you know that my one weakness is chai tea and the spice that gives chai its most characteristic deliciousness is cardamom. With Cardamom a key player in these tasty delights, there was no way I wasn’t going to try making Rav Laddu. The recipe is simple and the ingredients can all be bought right here in Brandon. These lovely little desserts keep well in the fridge and last about a week…if you can restrain yourself that long.
1 c. wheatlets (otherwise known as Cream of Wheat or Sooji)
1 c. icing sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c. hot milk
1 tsp cardamom (you can buy this in the international section at Superstore. It comes as little dried green pods. Break the pods open and grind up the black seeds inside. If cardamom isn’t your thing, substitute with cinnamon).
10 chopped raw cashews
2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
In a heavy saucepan heat half of the butter (1 1/2 tsp) over medium. Add raisins and cashews and stir until the cashew begin to brown. Remove raisins and cashews from pot and set aside. Replace pot over the stove and melt in the other half of the butter (1 1/2 tsp). Toast your wheatlets over medium heat by stirring constantly. Once they begin to turn a lovely golden brown remove from pot from heat. Stir in the icing sugar, cashews, raisins, coconut and cardamom (you can substitute with cinnamon if you wish, the flavor is less bold but equally satisfying). Pour in the hot milk and stir until the mixture forms clumps.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then butter up your hands. Squeeze a spoonful of mixture into a round ball and place it on the parchment paper. Refrigerate your Laddu until it sets into lovely firm figures of flavor. Share with your friends.