When I was looking around for Sindhi sweet dishes, I came across these sesame seeds laddus in Alka's blog. After reading her narration of the Sindhi harvest festival called laal loi, I was surprised to notice the similarities between their version and the ones down here in south. In Andhra, we have a same ritual of fire called as the bhogi mantalu during sankranthi and we celebrate the festival during same time. Indian harvest festivals may vary regionally in the way how and when they are celebrated but like the cultures around the world, it's a way to show how thankful they are for the bounty of harvest. It's a way to show their gratitude to the unknown powers.
Sesame seeds has a special connection with harvest celebrations across India. Sindhis prepare borinda - the sesame seeds laddus prepared with sugar syrup / jaggery or honey, as a religious offering during the occasion. What interested me is that this version uses honey. At home whenever we prepare sesame laddus, we just powder the sesame seeds, jaggery and dried coconut together to make balls. I am also familiar with the store bought jaggery / sugar syrup versions but have never come across the version using honey. And so gave it a shot today. I concluded that the jaggery version is the best of all, with a softer texture. This honeyed version is more like sugar ones, good but a little bit on the harder side.
Ingredients: (Makes 8 balls)
1 cup white sesame seeds
1 cup honey (I used about 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp salt (I did not add any.)
Optional ingredients: Pistachios / tutti frutti
* Heat honey in a pan for a minute or so. The consistency will turn thinner. Turn off the stove and keep it aside.
* Gently toast sesame seeds on low flame until they start to crackle. Take care not to burn them.
* If using pistachios, gently toast them as well.
* Add the sesame seeds and salt to the honey and stir to combine.
* Start cooking until honey changes a couple of shades darker and all the honey is absorbed by the seeds. Add pistachios / tutti frutti if using. Let it cool for a minute or so. If you try to handle it later, it would turn hard and stick to the pan. In that case, just heat it again. It will become softer.
* Dip your hand in a bowl of cold water and pull out a lime sized portion and shape into a ball. Repeat the procedure, dipping your hands in the cold water intermittently to avoid scalding your hands. Make sure that you can handle the mixture with out burning your hand.
Or pour the whole mixture into a greased plate and spread. Score with a knife to make squares when it slightly hardens. Allow to cool and cut them into squares.
I switched off the stove when all the ingredients came together into a mass but still when I tried to shape into laddus, I saw honey oozing out. Also after a few seconds, I saw the round ball slightly deflating. As they cooled down, they became hard as expected. Probably the quantity of the honey can be further reduced for these reasons, I think.
Check out here to know what other participating marathoners are cooking.