Rava Ladoo Made Easy: 8 Ways To Perfect The Sweet Treat
Image Credit: Sharmi's Passion

Regional cuisines across India are a celebration of flavour, taste and local ingredients seeped in the soil of the province from which they hail. One such ingredient found in Maharashtrian cuisine as well as in many southern Indian regions is fresh coconut. Along the Konkan coast, coconut trees abound and their sweet fruits are used in multiple savoury and dessert treats as a staple ingredient. Coconut is mixed with a variety of different foods including rice flour, vegetables and legumes to elevate the flavour of every dish and give it a slightly more complex flavour profile.

One such sweet treat which is incomplete without freshly grated coconut is the rava ladoo. Made from very basic ingredients including suji or rava, ghee, sugar, saffron and coconut, it is a delicious sweet that if made right, will melt in your mouth. Making the perfect rava ladoo which is soft, flavourful and oozing with ghee is a skill mastered over time. Often, it tends to harden too much, or becomes too sweet or sinks because of excessive moisture. Repairing a rava ladoo is hardly an option because one coconut and suji are mixed in sugar syrup, there really is no going back! So, it is critical to follow precise measurements for all ingredients while making rava ladoo to get their structure just right. 

Image courtesy: Cook With Smile

Making rava ladoos with freshly grated coconut is then an art that requires much patience and meticulousness. Here are some handy tips to make the perfect rava ladoos for this festive season:

Choose Your Rava

One of the easiest ways to get rava ladoos right is to choose the right kind and quality of rava. Go for the barik rava or the thin textured semolina used to make upma in many households. This rava blends well with all the other ingredients giving the ladoo a perfectly round structure without the risk of it sinking in.

Check The Rava For Granules

Once you have bought the rava, pour it into a plate and check carefully for granules or other small stones that may mix into the ladoo and come between your teeth. Not only is that an unpleasant taste, but it will also spoil the overall structure of the ladoo making it either too dry or grainy.

Roast Rava Meticulously 

While the habit of roasting rava and storing it for a month or more persists in many households, the trick to making a tasty rava ladoo is to dry-roast rava fresh, just before the ladoo is made. This ensures that the rava is free of any moisture and you can also keep a watchful eye on the roasting process so that rava is taken off the flame as soon it acquires a pinkish hue.

Grate Fresh Coconut

Using fresh ingredients is the best way to make sure that rava ladoos acquire a soft, melt-in-your-mouth structure. Grate coconuts fresh for making the ladoo. This means, avoid using grated coconut that has been stored in the freezer for a long time because that can affect the softness of the coconut shavings. Instead, grate coconut before making the ladoo and infuse it with the tender texture of this sweet fruit.

Use Homemade Ghee

Clarified butter or ghee is the ingredient that brings the rava and coconut mix together. To do this effectively, use good quality ghee. Making ghee at home requires just a bit of practice and patience. If you are accustomed to making clarified butter at home, it is recommended to use this ghee for both, cultural and culinary reasons. Made at home, you can adjust the brownness of the butter to suit your cooking needs. As well, since ladoos are many times made for prasad, cultural practices advocate using satvik ingredients without preserve. Homemade ghee devoid of any artificial substances is a suitable option.

Keep An Eye On Sugar Syrup

The rava-coconut mix is blended into sugar syrup for making the ladoo. However, if you are making sugar syrup at home, keep a very watchful eye on the pot of water and sugar for monitoring its thickness levels. If the sugar syrup becomes too thick, it will spoil the consistency of the mix making it difficult to roll the ladoos.

Use Refined Sugar

Having rava-coconut ladoo in moderation would indeed be quite alright so go ahead and use refined sugar to make this delicious sweet. Cut down on other high-calorie foods when you gorge on this ladoo but in order for it to achieve a round structure and a fine taste, use refined sugar rather unabashedly!

Season With Raisins

Roast some nuts and raisins in ghee for adding a layer of flavour to the rava ladoos. A bite of a raisin while munching on the ladoo introduces a delicious surprise for the taste buds and helps to break the sweet profile of coconut and sugar with the fruity, nutty and earthy sweetness of raisins and almond and cashew shavings.