Ladoo is very simple to make. It is often prepared for festivals or family events, and is a common guest at Diwali. It can be a fruit and nut mixture (like mine) or made with besan (garbanzo) or rava (semolina) flour. I made this ladoo is made for the Tamil New Year (Puthandu). It is a very healthy sweet dish, this particular one contains no added sugar or salt, nor any flour. It also requires no cooking! Woohoo!
Every single month I hunt around for world holidays to plug into my food calendar to later research and then cook food over. I don’t make a big holiday of it (that would be exhausting), but I love trying and cooking new cuisine, and I love learning about the holidays and cultures around the world. Exotic or humble, it makes no matter.
For example, Sechseläuten is a Swiss Spring holiday where they symbolically burn off winter and celebrate the coming spring. It’s occurring on April 28th this year, and I will be definitely cooking Swiss food and saying, “burn the Böögg!” to my empty kitchen while my onions sizzle back a hot, “yesssssss.”
I’ve taken a greater interest in Jewish holidays than I previously have since my littlest cousin, and godchild, was born last September. I have overpassed Passover each year due to the dietary restrictions and there being too many other holidays in the spring.
The first day of Passover overlapped on my cooking calendar with Puthandu, which my husband and I celebrate. But, I decided I would just read about Passover anyways, the foods, the symbolism and significance.
I was inspired by the items on the Seder plate, and decided to Puthandu dishes under this inspiration and even tried to keep with the requirements of sephardic Jewish passover cooking. So we enjoyed lamb shank curry, bitter gourd fry, chow chow kootu, and of course, ladoo spread over our platter. Puthandu valthukkal!
The choice of ladoo was inspired by the Passover dish Charoset, which is a fruit/date relish representing the mortar the Jewish people used while slaves in Egypt. The charoset recipes varied from something more akin to chopped up apples to some recipes that were nearly identical to ladoo. While the bitter herbs of the Seder plate are often dipped in the Charoset before eating (to remember that sweetness can be found even at the bitterest of times) I passed on mixing my bitter gourd fry with my ladoo…
Special tools: a food processor
Makes 12 Ladoo
- 20-30 Dried, Pitted Dates (Medjool or other)
- 1/2 cup unsalted raw cashew pieces
- 1/2 cup unsalted raw almonds
- 3 tbsp unsalted, shelled raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp butter (or ghee)
(You can start with just 20 dates, to reduce the sugar)
Blend all of the ingredients together in the food processor until they all become sticky. Add more dates if necessary. Roll into balls. Serve.
Note 1: you can also brown the nuts in the butter/ghee prior to grinding them with the dates.
Note 2: Replace butter with coconut oil for a vegan version, or replace butter with a splash of kosher wine and dash of cinnamon!