Rava Laadu / Rawa Laddoo (Sweet Semolina Balls) - Christmas Goodies - Kuswar

Indian sweets - well, what do I say about them? As much as I claim that I don't have a sweet tooth, I do. Big time. I didn't have one during my growing up years but ever since I had my kids I have this undying love for Indian sweets. Laddoos top the list and I just can't seem to resist them. The best part about laddoos is that they are so versatile, from the traditional ones to the more contemporary ones, you can make them out of any ingredient. Just shape them into balls - any size and they qualify to be called a laddoo. 

While each region in India offers its own variety of favourites the boondi laddos (sweet balls made of chick pea flour droplets) and rava laddoos are by far the most pan Indian.
Although the former has been my all time favourite, the rava laddoo too has suddenly gained popularity in my house. I have tried making them at home at least thrice and they have disappeared within seconds. I think these maybe one of the healthiest among the lot as the process involves simple roasting of the semolina. There is no deep frying involved thus making them healthier than their other counterparts. Hey, with the exception of the rice laddoos too.

I am sure there are a zillion recipes to make the perfect rava laddoo. I have tried a few combination of ingredients and this recipe is what suited me best. I will however try as many recipes as I find because I simply couldn't get enough of these laddoos. I have used just 1/2 cup of sugar for 1 cup rava as I prefer laddoos that are not overly sweet. You may add more if you prefer.

Rava Laddoos are also called as Rava/Rulaonache Laadu in Konkani. These laddoos are part of the Kuswar platter. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term 'Kuswar', well, it is nothing but a collective term for traditional Mangalorean Christmas sweets & savouries. Below this post you will find the entire list of Kuswar preparations. While there are is a standard Kuswar fare like Kidyo (Kul Kuls/Sweet Dough Curls), Gulio (Sweet Deep Fried Rice Balls), Neurio (Cresent Shaped Sweet Puffs), Kokkisan (Rose Cookies), Pathekaan (Banana Chips), Tukdi (Diamond Cuts) & Thandhlache Laadu (Rice Flour & Jaggery Laddoos) that is served by every Mangalorean for Christmas, there are a few other sweets & savouries that also make their appearance on the platter and one of these is the Rava laddoo. Do stay tuned for some more Kuswar recipes!

Rava Laadu/ Laddoo
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Yield 10-12 lime sized laddoos

1 cup fine semolina/sooji/rava1/2 cup freshly grated coconut2-3 cardamoms husked & powdered1/2 cup fine sugar *see notes1 tablespoon cashew nuts1 tablespoon raisins1/4 cup milk at room temperature3 tablespoons ghee + extra for greasing the palm
1. Pulse the coconut and the cardamom powder together in a grinder till the texture of the coconut has become a little like sand. Do this only if the coconut is not grated very finely. Do not add any water to grind.
2. In a heavy, broad based pan or skillet heat 2 tablespoons ghee and roast the semolina on a very low flame. Ensure that the pan is not over crowded. Take care to stir it with undivided attention. It will take 3-5 minutes for the colour to slowly change to a light golden hue. You will also get a delicate aroma of roasted rava. Remove from the heat immediately before it burns.
3. In the same pan (wiped clean of any rava remnants) heat some more ghee and roast the nuts and raisins one after the other until the nuts are golden in colour and the raisins have puffed up a little - again, keep an eye out and don't let the contents burn *see notes. If you like remove & reserve a few nuts and raisins for decoration and add the rest.
4. Add the coconut & cardamom mixture and roast on a medium heat for half a minute. Add the sugar and stir well - the sugar will slowly begin to melt.  Finally add the roasted rava and give all the contents a good mix.
5. Turn off the flame, add the milk in parts and mix for a couple of minutes. Cover the pan and let the mixture sit for another minute. The rava if uncooked at the roasting stage will gently cook under the steam. * see notes
6. Open the pan and when the mixture feels comfortably cool to handle grease your palms with drops of ghee and gently compress lime sized portions of the mixture into your palm. Place a raisin and cashew nut on the surface to give it a decorative touch. You may need to give it a little squeeze so that the laddoos don't crumble. Place laddoos on a plate to cool.
7. Once the laddoos have cooled completely store in an airtight box and consume within 2 days if kept at room temperature. They will keep well for almost 5-6 days when stored in an airtight box in the fridge.

1. If you don't have fine granulated sugar, powder your regular sugar in a grinder.
2. If you are using an electric hob (hotplate/ceramic/induction hob) then remove the pan off the heat and place it elsewhere - this is because electric hobs take longer to cool as compared to gas stoves and hence you may end up scorching the rava (the colour will turn to dark brown which is avoidable)
3. Applying ghee to your palms before preparing the laddoos will prevent scalding of your skin as the mixture would be really hot.

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