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 throats 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 a 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.
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 ladoo 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 ladoo 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 complimentary parallel 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.
Coconut Almond Laddu
- 200 g fresh, grated coconut
- 100 g almond meal (powder 100g almonds in a grinder)
- 200 g condensed milk (add a couple of tbsps more if you prefer sweeter laddus)
- 40 g raisins, chopped into halves
- 1 tsp green cardamom powder
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 50 g desiccated coconut (for rolling laddus)
- Place a wide pan on low to medium heat, pour in the condensed milk. Add the grated coconut, 1 tbsp ghee and almond meal and mix well.
- Continue to cook the mixture, stirring continuously, for 7-8 mins.
- Now add the ground cardamom, raisins and remaining ghee. Keep stirring until the liquid dries up, the mixture thickens and begins to leave the sides of the pan. (another3-4 mins). Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once the laddu mixture is luke warm, spread the desiccated coconut on a wide plate, smear a few drops of ghee on your palms and shape walnut-sized laddus by rolling roughly a tablespoon of the mixture between your palms and then rolling the laddu in desiccated coconut. Store the coconut laddus in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.