Nish’s Coconut Laddu
First comes the name.If you are wondering about the second word ‘Laddu’ it simply means sweet balls.It is important to note that term ‘laddu’ is reserved for ‘sweet‘ balls of deliciousness.If it savory balls,it will be called ‘Kofta’ not ‘Laddu’.
When I think of this dish, I think of my mom, grating the fresh coconut laboriously and condensing the milk by stirring it constantly.We all sitting around the pot of mixture and helping her shape it like a ball as quickly as we can.Multiple hands, multiple ‘laddus’ at once, taste testing and job done quickly.This sweet tasty ball of goodness have been my favourite way of eating coconut since then.
Thing or two about how we ended up with so much coconut in our house growing up, since it not everyday fruit like apple and grapes.There are certain day of a week, Saturday, for example is considered auspicious for temple going by practicing Hindus everywhere.Though I was not devout temple goer, whenever we did go, we bought the offerings for worship before entering the temple, like ‘garland/flower/sweet sugar pearls’ etc.Key offering ingredient varies from temple to temple many times, one ingredient which I have found commonly present as offering is whole ‘coconut’ fruit intact.Coconut is considered ‘worship’ fruit among practicing Indian Hindus and is almost always present at part of any ‘worship’.
I remember shaking it close to our ear to hear if there is good enough water inside, in order to pick the freshest coconut.Street outside the temples are usually lined up with cart selling the worship goods.You can buy one or many coconuts.Once you are inside the temple, you break the fruit on a very hard rock at a designated place, to split the coconut in two pieces or hand to the priest to do the same, if thats what the norm calls for, in the particular temple.Rules varies temple by temple and you know it by watching.
Now other part of the narrative is ‘milk’.We got milk delivered by the milkman, every morning at our door stop.I remember the milkman measuring each ‘pao'(almost 1 cup).We got like 6-8 ‘pao’/day on an average and more if there is special occasion since lots of Indian sweet is milk based.My parents insisted that we must drink milk before going to bed and though i am not fond of milk at all in its regular/basic form, i added ‘malted milk’ of sort to help gulping it down, so we usually had lots of milk accumulated.Now you can imagine, my mom ended up with lots of milk and coconut time to time and what she did with them? She made ‘coconut laddu’ out of it.
During my stay in South India,where coconut is popular in mainstream dishes, they often use a special tool to grate the coconut.Result is very fine, almost powder sort, of coconut.Great for making ‘laddu’s or other dishes.
Though i have never made coconut laddu at home here, don’t ask me why?My sister,nish, prepared it for our mother’s month special,since it is our family dessert too.
- You can use ‘condensed’ milk instead of condensing the milk it by yourself..thats what my lazy self will do.You can buy ‘khoya’ from Indian store.if you are condensing the milk by yourself make sure you have milk with fat.
- You can use ice cream scooper to make a ball too,if it feels too hot or you don’t want to handle with your hand.
- If you are using hand,keep cold water nearby.Soak your hand in water after making every ball or couple of balls.First it will ease the ‘hot’ and two ,it will roll smoothly.
- If i am in a mood of extra adventure,i will buy the fresh coconut and grate in my nifty coconut grater,i brought here 10 years ago and which has graciously occupied place in the deep corner of my cabinets ever since.You can of course use the regular grater, after taking the hard woody shell out.