Diwali happiness + nostalgia = a first attempt at laddoos
Perhaps our first feelings of being "away" from home were felt day before yesterday. Like Iv said before, thats when we realized that Diwali is right around the corner, and yet nothing in our immediate vicinity screamed "Diwali!" like it would, had we been in Bangalore. I suddenly identified with what NRIs must feel like, miles away from their homes, families and their roots (I hate using this word in this context, because I think it has become so cliché and overused) during the time of festivals. When one is back home, one tends to just take it for granted. Things just happen and we are a part of events and happenings almost as if by default. But this is our first time away. I made a conscious choice to stay in Goa during Diwali this year, even though I had the option of going home to celebrate it, because I wanted to bring a bright and beautiful Diwali into our very first home together.
But as Diwali drew closer, I realized its not easy to feel festive with just the 2 of us. Half the fun of festivals like Diwali is about being with family, meeting one another, exchanging sweets and the rest. However, I still want to make this Diwali, our first Diwali in our own home, as special as possible. And the closest and fondest association I have with the festival, is of course the sweets! So here's a basic laddoo recipe that I tried for the very first time today.
What you need (for about 18 smallish laddoos)
2 cups of atta (wheat flour)
1/2 cup ghee and oil
1 and 1/4 cup powdered sugar
A pinch of elaichi powder
What you need to do
Roast the atta in a pan on a low flame until it turns nice and brown and begins to smell wonderful. So wonderful that you'll wonder how atta could smell so divine. Add in the ghee+oil mixture. This will cause some lumps, even them out and continue to roast. The fragrance only keeps getting better and makes you want to ditch making laddoos and eat the mixture as it is. I wish pictures could capture smells, then you would know exactly what I mean.
Next, add in the elaichi powder. This is optional. Some people dont like the flavour, so its alright to omit. Continue to roast, all the while on a low flame. When you cant bear to enjoy the fragrance any more, turn the flame off. After about 2 minutes, add in the powdered sugar. and mix thoroughly.
Allow this powdered mixture to cool just enough so you can get your hands in and begin the laddoo making. Once cooled, turning powder to solid spheres is virtually impossible. So this part does call for some palm-scalding and some pain-threshold testing. Being my first time making laddoos, it took going through about 4-5 misshapen ones before I got the hang of it. 16 uneven, fingerprinted spheres later, I was done!
The fragrance brought back memories of Diwali at home and Shantamma (my cook back home) making the very same laddoos. However, this morning I asked my mommy-in-law or help with her version of the recipe, because in true Sindhi style theyre richer, more ghee-laden and therefore VERY yummy. See for yourself!