Deepawali, the festival of lights, eagerly anticipated and celebrated throughout India, is here. There is so much excitement, happiness, festivities in the air. It is also fun to run around shopping for new clothes, gifts, fire crackers.
As with most festivals, the stories behind celebrating this festival too are several. Sri Krishna killed Narakasura on this Chaturdashi day. Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after His exile after killing Ravana and freeing Sita from his evil clutch.
Whatever be the legend, the common theme is the victory of good over evil. The assurance from Divinity that evil, cruelty, jealousy and hatred do not last long. That truth, goodness and virtuous living always triumphs. A very heartening reminder in a world where the opposite seems to be true. An assurance for those who believe. A great reason to celebrate. To meet up with family, close or extended. To renew friendships, to form new ones, to look forward with hope.
So here is wishing you happiness, good health, joy in your lives!
In continuation with my efforts at finding and documenting healthy recipes, I am very happy to share with you this new attempt of mine. The nutty aroma of roasted ragi combined with seductive cocoa, taken a notch festive with fragrant ghee all come together delightfully in this healthy dessert.
Millets are quite the rage in the diet of every health conscious person and rightly so. They are packed with several nutrients, richer in calcium, fibre and other vitamins than grains like rice or wheat. Ragi, or Finger Millet forms the staple grain of a large part of rural India. Here is my shot at making a festive dish with this humble grain. A successful undertaking, even if I say so myself. This Diwali, when you dig into this dark, mysterious confection, you can feel a tad less guilty at indulging knowing that there is this super healthy millet at its base.
- Does NOT contain gluten, lactose, egg, soya, peanuts, any nuts.
- Suitable for people with gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, nut allergy.
EDITED – A reader expressed concern about using butter or ghee in this recipe for lactose intolerance. Usually ghee is digested even by people with lactose intolerance, since it is ‘fully clarified butter’, but if you are intolerant to ghee as well, do use margarine warmed in the same proportions. I have not used margarine myself, and am only suggesting it as an alternative.
Preparation time – 30 minutes, Cooking time – 5 minutes, Makes – 12 laddus
Cookware – Thick bottomed fry pan, Mixer grinder, Metal spatula, Small Saucepan.
- 1 heaped cup Ragi flour (I used store bought)
- 1 scant cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hersheys)
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
- 1/4 cup ghee (Can use melted butter too)
- Set a thick bottomed fry pan/ skillet on fire. Dry roast the ragi flour on medium heat stirring briskly all the time. This step removes the raw flavour of the flour and gives it a good nutty tone. 2-3 minutes later, you should sense a change in aroma. The flour is then ready.
- Switch off flame, add in cocoa powder, mix well with ladle. Also add the powdered sugar, and vanilla essence, and mix in thoroughly. You could use a wire whisk to mix well too.
- Heat up the ghee over a low flame in a different small sauce pan. If using butter, heat a similar quantity of butter for such time until you find the butter slowly changing hue to a pale gold.
- Drizzle this hot ghee over the ragi-sugar mixture. Mix again with ladle, and when it is of bearable heat, grab a fistful and compress using fingers to a round ball shape. The laddu can be set aside to rest when it keeps its shape. It will harden on cooling. Finish off making laddus with the rest of the mixture. Halfway through, if you find the mixture cooling and the laddu does not shape well, then warm the flour mixture gently again to help shaping the laddus.
- Your delicious, laddu redolent of cocoa with a hint of vanilla is ready!
HAPPY DEEPAWALI EVERYBODY. STAY HEALTHY, BE HAPPY!