Vatalya Daliche Ladu - A to Z Maharashtrian Sweets
When I started making a list for the A to Z Maharashtrian Sweets, there were some alphabets that really gave a tough time. While some really hard ones got fixed unexpectedly, few were testing me. Plus the lack of language ensured I didn't have a clue on what the ingredients are called in the native language.
So when I came across Vatalya Daliche Ladu in a random place, I was in two minds to research if Vatalya is Marathi or not. Then seeing how it was spelled I realized it ought to be Marathi and a quick google search led me to all the Vatalya Daliche Ladu on the internet. What's different about this ladoo is that this is cooked from the ground chana dal paste.
We are used to channa dal paste being made as Masala Vadas. I even have a Moong Dal Laddu where roasted Moong dal is powdered and again cooked to be made into laddos. In fact, I had this listed for M, on seeing that it's exactly the same way I have made, I dropped and made Mande.
So coming back to Vatalya Daliche Ladu, these laddoos are an interesting conception of grinding the dal, roasting it and then making a laddoo. Though we have Besan Ladoo, these are different as these are made with wet batter. And these are popular Diwali Sweets.
I had soaked it overnight and then left it in the fridge for two days as my schedule was hectic and couldn't get around making it. The original recipe calls for 4 cups, I soaked only 1 cup, still got about 20 medium ladoos. If not for the muscle power you need to keep stirring this all the time, I would love to make it again.
Vatalya Daliche Ladu
Channa dal - 1 cup
Pure Ghee - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup (adjust to your taste, start with 3/4 cup)
Water - 3/4 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Saffron - few strands
Cardamom Powder a pinch
Almond, chopped - 1 tsp
How to make the channa Dal Ladoo
Wash and soak channa dal for 4-5 hours or overnight. Then grind it to a coarse paste. It should not a very soft paste.
You can use a heavy bottom pan or nonstick. I prefer nonstick so made it in. Heat ghee in the pan. Now add ground dal to it.
Stir it continuously on low flame. Even with just 1 cup of dal, it took me 45 mins. Dal should get golden colour with a nice aroma. Keep stirring till the raw smell leaves.
Keep stirring to ensure dal doesn't get stuck to the bottom or get burnt. Once you feel the dal is cooked well, this takes about nearly 40 mins, switch off and remove.
In another pan take sugar and water to make a syrup. Boil it till you get 2 strands consistency. You can easily make out two strings when you take a little drop of syrup in your two finger's tip (pressing and then separating from each other). The syrup is ready. Take care in this step as the syrup will be very hot and there is a risk of scalding.
Once the syrup is ready, put the cooked dal on the flame, add this syrup to the dal. Mix well and then add milk, saffron and cardamom powder to it and mix well. Ensure you mix everything well, cover and keep it aside for a while. Let the dal absorb all the syrup.
Check if you can make laddus, that is the mixture is holding the shape, continue making ladoos. I got about 20 medium ladoos and it stayed well for over 5 days.
Since I was clicking pictures of the two thread syrup, my sugar got hard. If this happens, you can still add to the dal mix and cook on low flame, while you press on the hard sugar to break it.
Increase ghee as per your taste. The amount I used ended up being little less, I could still increase by 2 tsp.