I’m always looking for easy homemade sweets for festivals like Diwali. This coconut laddu fits the bill perfectly. Diwali cleaning, shopping and other prep leaves me little time to make complicated sweets, so this recipe works beautifully for me. Also, people are up to their gills in sweets and rich snacks; and so I believe in keeping what I serve, light, both in terms of sugar and fat (ghee in this case).
My coconut laddu requires very few ingredients, all of which are easy to find; most you may already have in your kitchen cupboard. Besides coconut, this laddu has almond meal. I used almond meal instead of almond flour because I don’t mind a somewhat denser texture. I ground up a bunch of almonds in my food processor and I was good to go. But, if you prefer a more delicate texture and smoother mouth-feel, by all means buy a packet of almond flour. This might mean that you may need to adjust the quantity of condensed milk in the recipe. A finer flour will need a slightly lesser quantity of condensed milk to bind the laddus. I would cut it down by a couple of tablespoons, no more.
I went with freshly grated coconut for my laddu and used desiccated (unsweetened) coconut only for the final rolling, in order to give the laddu a drier, less sticky exterior. If for some reason, you cannot get your hands on fresh coconut, desiccated works fine; just make sure you increase the condensed milk by a few tablespoons. Fresh coconut has more moisture (oil + milk) which dries up when coconut is dehydrated to make desiccated coconut. You could also make coconut laddu with a combination of fresh and desiccated varieties. Just make sure to adjust the quantity of condensed milk. If you’d rather not expend elbow grease grating coconut, just dice it and give it a quick spin in the mixer or food processor. The emphasis being on ‘quick’, otherwise you’ll end up with coconut paste.
Diwali sweets need to be special, so I threw in a few halved raisins and added a couple of tablespoons of pure desi ghee to add a little richness and that incredibly unique flavour that only ghee has. If you’re a regular laddu maker, you’ll know that smearing a little melted ghee on the palms makes for easy rolling and shaping of perfectly round, delicious orbs. The ghee also prevents the sticky laddu mixture from building a sticky residue on your palms. Like most Indian sweets, this coconut laddu too has powdered cardamom. I tried to create a complementary layer of flavour and aroma by adding a pinch of ground nutmeg. Diwali season is the onset of winter with a pleasant nip in the air, and nutmeg brings a note of warmth to this coconut and almond laddu. A little nutmeg goes a long way so be frugal.
All these wonderful ingredients have to be cooked together till they form a thick mixture that leaves the sides of the pan. Then all that remains to be done is to cool the mixture and shape it into delicious laddus. Easy isn’t it? I do hope this easy coconut laddu recipe makes it to your Diwali platter. Wishing you a happy, healthy and glittering festival of lights!
Coconut Almond Laddu
- 350 g fresh coconut, grated
- 300 g almond meal (almonds with skin,powdered)
- 370 g condensed milk
- 1 tsp powdered cardamom
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 70 g raisins
- 200 g desiccated coconut (from a packet)
- 2+2 tbsp ghee
- Put a non-stick pan or one with a thick base on low heat and add the grated coconut, almond meal, 2 tbsp ghee and condensed milk. Stir with a spatula to mix.
- Continue stirring and cooking the the mixture for 10-12 minutes, till it thickens and starts leaving the the sides of the pan. Take it off the heat.
- Stir in the cardamom powder, grated nutmeg and raisins and mix well.
- Allow the mixture to become warm enough to handle. Do not wait for it to cool completely.
- Put the desiccated coconut in a shallow bowl or plate and keep a small bowl of melted ghee (2 tbsps) on the side to grease your palms.
- Lightly grease your palms with ghee, take a walnut-sized amount of the coconut mixture and shape into a ball. Roll the laddu in the desiccated coconut and place on a plate to cool fully. Similarly make laddus with the remaining mixture. Store the cooled laddus in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for 4-5 days.