Indian sweets usually have bad rap. The ones found in most Indian restaurants are sickly sweet and greasy ( sans the most important ingredient : ghee/clarified butter). Traditional sweet making is an art. It is a well known fact in our neighborhood that most ladies keep the recipes closely guarded. They get busy in the kitchen in their best competitive spirit during festivals, special occasions and weddings for an all out battle.
I kept asking my tour guide for sweet shops when I was in Chennai, South India a few years ago. He did not have an address - we were led to Alauddin Sweets in T-Nagar just by following the wonderful and mouth watering aroma of cardamom, ghee and cream. The whole block had the lingering aroma of the sweet shop and was filled with customers ( standing room only) - that is when you know you have hit the jack pot!
Jackson Heights in Queens does have some decent sweet shops but I could not wait for the weekend to have my sweet coconut treat fix!
2 cups Fine Rava/semolina/cream of wheat
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Shredded Dry Coconut - 1 ½ cups
Sugar - 2 cups or 1 ½ cups if you want it less sweet
Evaporated Milk - 1 5oz can
Cardamom Powder - ½ tsp
Saffron - 1 pinch, powdered (optional)
Raisins – ¼ cup, roasted in a little butter
Cashew/Almond/Pistachio - ¼ cup, coarsely chopped and roasted in a little butter
Melt butter/ghee in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add Rava/Sooji and toast until lightly browned. Add shredded coconut, sugar and mix well on low heat for few seconds.
Add in raisins, nuts, saffron, cardamom powder and mix well. Pour in evaporated milk and turn off the stove. Keep mixing for few minutes until the evaporated milk is well incorporated. Mixture will thicken.
Remove pan from stove. Dip your hands in cold water, take small amount of the mixture ( a bit smaller than golf ball size) and roll it into balls. Makes approx. 35 to 40 ladoos depending on the size you make.
Other desserts like this:
Date and Rice Pudding