Coconut Ladoo is a traditional Indian sweet commonly prepared during many auspicious occasions. This sweet gets its richness from milk and coconut, the main ingredients in making them. At the same time it does need a lot of ghee or butter that goes into making other popular sweets. It's a very simple recipe that can be quickly prepared.
I made these ladoos to offer them as Naivedyam (food offered to a Hindu deity as part of a worship ritual) for the Sarasvati pooja or Navami pooja as we commonly call it in Kerala. For the sake of completeness let me give a brief of what Navami or Navarathri is. Navarathri is a Sanskrit word that means nine nights, nava is nine and rathri is night. Navarathri is a festival dedicated completely towards the devotion of Devi (the principle form of goddess). During the nine nights that mark this festival, nine different forms of Devi are worshiped. This festival is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India.
In Kerala the last three days Ashtami, Navami, and Vijaya Dashami of Navarathri are celebrated as Sarasvati pooja which primarily involves worshiping books. Goddess Sarasvati is considered to be the embodiment of knowledge. The books are placed for pooja on the Ashtami day in own houses, traditional nursery schools, or in temples. On Vijaya Dashami day, the books are ceremoniously taken out for reading and writing after worshiping Sarasvati. Vijaya Dashami day is considered auspicious for initiating the children into writing and reading, which is called Vidyarambham. Tens of thousands of children are initiated into the world of letters on this day in Kerala.
Lets move on to the recipe now 🙂
Ingredients (makes 10)
- Coconut - 1 cup, grated
- Milk - 2 1/2 cups
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Ghee - 1 tsp
- Cashew or Badaam (Almonds) - 2 tsp, broken (optional)
- Cardamom powder - a pinch
Heat a pan on low flame, put a tsp of ghee on to it. When the ghee in warm, transfer the grated coconut on to the pan. Use a wooden spatula to stir the coconut gently for few seconds so that the ghee is nicely blended with the coconut. Add milk and cook on low flame till all the milk is absorbed. Keep stirring the contents frequently in order to avoid the milk from getting burnt. Instead of regular milk, condensed milk can also be used, in which case the use of sugar can be either avoided or reduced.
When all the milk is absorbed, add sugar. The mixture gets a little diluted when the sugar is added. Continue cooking on low flame for some more time till the mixture becomes sticky enough to let us make balls out of it. Now add a pinch of cardamom powder and stir the contents well. Turn off the heat.
Let the mixture to cool off. Grease your hands with a little ghee and make even sized balls out of it. The size of the ladoo is your personal preference, generally has a diameter of about 1 inch or may be slightly more.
Enjoy the delicious coconut ladoos :-). You can also refrigerate them to few days without any issues.