Festival season is the most challenging when you are on a restrictive diet! The Indian Festival season just started with ‘Ganesh Chathurthi’ which celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha. The next couple months will bring more festivals including Onam (Kerala’s harvest festival) and Diwali, the Hindu New Year. What all of these festivals have in common are sweets! In the good old days, all such sweets would be made at home using lots of homemade ghee, nuts and unrefined cane sugar (called jaggery).
Ladoos (sweetened balls) are a very common indian sweet and there are umpteen varieties of ladoos – rice ladoos, wheat ladoos, semolina ladoos, besan (gram flour) ladoos….and coconut ladoos! I used to love ladoos a lot and I would have even named both my children ‘ladoos’ if I could:) This week for some reason, I kept thinking about the delicious coconut ladoos that my mom used to make when we were young. And then I immediately felt frustrated since the traditional coconut ladoos had dairy, refined sugar (to keep them snow white!) and also gluten and nuts! So the traditional recipe just wouldn’t work for me!
But then when you have a craving as strong as that, nothing can stop you and you tell yourself ‘hmm…let me see if I can make a Paleo/AIP version of this!’ Luckily for me, I didn’t even need to try too hard! I went to the kitchen mentally formulating a recipe in my mind. I just went about following that recipe and guess what? Best coconut ladoos ever! Ha ha! They turned out so delicious that I ate 4 in a row! oh my Goodness! But nothing to be guilty about since these have only all the good things – coconut flour, shredded coconut, coconut milk, maple syrup and gelatin. Gelatin is the important ingredient here since it really fortifies the ladoos (both literally and figuratively!) – The gelatin adds to not only the nutrient value but also helps to bring the ladoos together (helps to hold their structure!). I added vanilla for flavor but you could also use rose (traditional) or not use any since maple syrup will lend its unique flavor as well.
I have made a video of the recipe too. Please watch and let me know how you like these adorable ladoos!
- In a small bowl, add the water and then sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water slowly until all the gelatin is wet. Use a fork to further mix and wet the gelatin. Keep aside.
- In a small sauce pan, add the coconut milk and maple syrup and heat on very low flame. Then add the bloomed gelatin mixture to this and stir continuously while on low heat until all the gelatin gets completely dissolved in the mixture. Now add the salt and turn heat off.
- To the above mixture, add the coconut flour, shredded coconut and vanilla. Mix using a spoon and then using your hands, form small balls (8-10).
- Roll each ball in shredded coconut and place on a plate. Place the balls in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to set.