Another post on Deepavali sweetmeats. This is a cashew rava (semolina) treat that is really quick and easy to put together. And shaping the the laddus is so simple, you can do it while watching TV or talking on the phone. Or you can follow what my grandmother used to do. She’d call all her daughters (6 of them, mind you… of course, if you’re not as prolific, you can call your other family members and friends to make up the numbers), get them to sit in a circle, place a large mound of laddu mixture in the center and ask them to pinch off bits and shape the mixture into balls.
This particular laddu is made with very fine rava/semolina and has a lovely cashew and ghee taste that is slightly laced with cardamon. The cashew-rava mixture is bound together with diluted condensed milk so you also have a creamy milk flavour. These can stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Cashew Rava Laddu
(makes 30-32 small laddus)
1/2 heaped cup of cashews
1 1/2 tbsp ghee (use QBB brand for best flavor)
3/4 very fine rava/semolina (use PRIMA brand semolina. If using normal rava, grind in coffee grinder until fine)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp caster sugar (it is important for the sugar to be very fine. Use only caster sugar, not fine grain or granulated sugar. If caster sugar is unavailable, measure out granulated sugar and grind briefly in coffee grinder until very fine)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamon, freshly ground with pestle and mortar from about 8 green cardamon pods
3 tbsp condensed milk
2 tbsp hot water
1. Using a small knife, split cashews into halves. Dry roast nuts in a wok until light golden brown and fragrant. Or you can spread split cashews in an even layer on a baking tray and toast in a 375F oven for about 6-8 minutes, shaking the tray halfway. I prefer to use this method because the nuts brown more evenly.
2. Cool cashews completely and grind in coffee grinder or food processor until powdery. Use the pulse mechanism to ensure you don’t overgrind the mixture and end up with cashew nut butter.
3. Heat ghee in a wok. Add rava and stir fry over medium-low heat for about 6 minutes until the rava loses its “raw smell” and darkens slightly. You’ll know the rava is cooked when it stops sticking together and becomes slightly crumbly.
4. Once rava is ready, add ground cashews and mix quickly. Add freshly ground cardamon and mix thoroughly.
5. Turn off the heat and stir in sugar and salt.
6. Dissolve condensed milk in hot water. Mix in about 4 tbsp of this milk mixture into the rava and cashew mixture. Stir in and see if the mixture can be pressed into small balls with your fist. If the laddus disintegrate when you try to press it into a ball, add more milk mixture, a teaspoon at a time, until the right consistency is reached.
7. Shape about 2 tespoonfuls of mixture into small laddus and store in an airtight tin.
Cooked rava. The grains should become powdery and stop clumping together…