Now that Deepavali is over, it is time to think of Nagula Chavithi, which falls on the fourth day after Deepavali. This is a day when women in Andhra fast and pray to serpents/snakes. Legend has it that when Lord Shiva swallowed the poison from the Sagara Manthanam, a few drops spilled over. The Nagula Chavithi, Panchami, and Sashti poojas are performed to alleviate the ill effects of this poison. On this day, we typically eat only milk, fruits, and two naivedyam items called Chimmili and Chalimidi.
Chimmili (also called Nuvvula Undalu) is a simple laddoo made from nuvvulu (sesame/til) and jaggery. It is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. I guess this makes it the ideal food for someone on a fast!
Unpolished Nuvvulu/Sesame/Til – 1 Cup
Bellam/Jaggery/Gur – 1/2 Cup
Neyyi/Clarified Butter/Ghee – 1/2 tsp
In a mixer, crush the nuvvulu by giving it a whirl for about 5-10 seconds at low speeds.
Add the grated jaggery and grind for about 1-2 minutes till the nuvvulu and jaggery are well-mixed.
Grease palm with ghee and make lemon-sized laddoos.
It is Dhana Trayodashi/Dhanteras today, the first of Diwali. Today, I made Besan Laddoo, a sweet that I love. I made it great abundance this year and will share it with family, friends and colleagues at work. 🙂
Makes: 12-15 Besan Laddus
Besan/Gram Flour/Senaga Pindi – 2 Cups
Ghee/Clarified Butter/Neyyi – 1/2 Cups
Green Cardamom – 4
Sugar – 1 Cups
Almonds – 12-15
In a wok or kadai, dry roast the besan till it starts to change color to light brown.
Set aside to cool.
Grind sugar and cardamom powder together to a fine powder.
Sieve besan to remove all lumps.
Slice the almonds in half length-wise.
Over low heat, in a heavy bottomed kadai/wok, melt the ghee.
Add the sieved, roasted besan and mix well.
Roast the ghee-besan mix over low heat for 15 minutes.
Take off the heat and let it cool till just warm.
While the ghee-besan mix is still warm, add the powdered sugar and cardamom.
Let this mix rest for 2 to 3 hours. It will harden a bit.
With a heavy spatula, mix well.
Take about a spoonful of the besan mix and mould it into a round ball.
Press in half an almond onto each laddoo.
Let the besan laddoos rest for about 2-3 hours.
Share the besan laddoos with family and friends. Eat to your heart’s content. 🙂
Roast the besan patiently. Getting this step right is key to a good laddoo.
Resist the tempatation to add more besan or ghee, if the mix looks too hard or too thin. The ghee will solidy and bind the mix when it cools.
You have to make each laddoo quickly, within 30-60 seconds. You will notice that each besan laddoo quickly becomes shiny as you are moulding it by hand. This is because the heat of your palm start to melt the ghee. If you “over mould”, the laddoo mix will become soft and not hold shape.
You can use a mix of dry fruits such as kishmish (raisins), pista, and kaju to decorate the laddoo.