Wednesday, November 07, 2007

VeganMoFo 8: Happy Diwali!

Turns out my spicy cupcakes are a hit. The curry powder variation (see here) REALLY worked out well and all the non-vegans are loving it and eating it up (plus one vegan ate 3. ok it was me).

That is well balanced by my fruit leather. After a few hours in the sun (not too much sun these days) for two days, I got impatient and turned on the oven. Only I left it on and turned it off too late. So the edges burned. And the center is tough and chewy. It tastes like a weird protein bar. Ick.

So I'm leaving the apple stuff aside for a while. Meanwhile, we have been making sweets and snacks for Deepavali (aka Divali/Diwali). While Deepavali is mostly celebrated by Indians, for my whole family it's not a religious thing. In fact, it's the only holiday of the year when you're allowed to pray and do things without bathing. I will explain the whole ritual in another post. Now, more about those sweets and snacks.

My mother-in-law is the lead on this, with crispy omam podi made of besan and ajwain/carom seeds and sweet burfi. She used real ghee in the sweet though, unfortunately. She's also making another crunchy snack made of rice flour and cumin called thenkuzhal.

(photo to come here)

She also made a special vegan sweet for me. And she taught me how to make it. It is a laddu, which is a term for any medium-to-large ball-shaped sweet. Rava is semolina, also known as sooji, or cream of wheat. This works better with the fine kind, rather than the coarse, but she used the coarse because that's what we had, and you just have to grind it more finely and it comes out great.

Rava Laddu

1 cup rava
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted vegan butter (unsalted margarine works)
a few cashews (optional)

Heat the butter on the stove, and boil. Allow to simmer up to 20 minutes until you can see the liquid is a darker golden amber color, and there is froth on top and sediment on the bottom. You will see water evaporate from the top. DO NOT STIR. Turn off the heat after it stops simmer and the color has changed. Set aside to cool a little. This liquid is now the ghee, which you can leave outside the fridge and use up to a year.

In the meantime, on low heat, dry-roast the rava until it darkens slightly. Set aside. Dry roast the sugar just a little, and add to the rava. Grind the two together to a fine powder.

In a tsp of ghee, saute the cashews until they brown. Add the ghee and cashews to the rava.

Slowly add the liquid ghee to the rava until it starts sticking together a bit (be careful not to add too much, or else you will have to make more rava-sugar powder). Make fairly round balls by pinching some rava tightly in your palm and very gently rolling it between your palms. They should be about one inch across. If the laddus don't stay together, add a little more ghee. When they stay round when picked up between two fingers, they are just right.

Set on a tray to cool. Serve with a salty snack for balance!

Variations: you can add raisins, powdered cardamom, and ground cloves to laddus for more flavor.


Kittee said...

hey there and happy divali!
i'm pretty sure that vegan ghee can't stay out the way that regular ghee can, since it doesn't contain any butterfat. just don't want you to get sick!


rani said...

hi thanks for the info, didn't know that. but it is hydrogenated and it's been doing great so far after two weeks!