Friday, August 17, 2012

Rave Unde/Rava laddoos - easy breezy dessert

Nammamma is not a perfect cook by any means but there are some masterpiece dishes that she makes and when I eat these from other sources they never measure up to the standards :-). I agree I am partial because she is my mom hence the prejudiced opinion but everyone that have tasted her cooking tend to agree with me. She was not very experimental in kitchen mainly because she was always on the run to feed a large, growing family with different needs and wanted to stick to her tried and tested recipes but a simple uppittu she made with just cabbage and (lotsa) coconut have satisfied loads of unannounced cousins and family. She has always been keen on the quality of the ingredients she uses and I believe that makes a lot of difference. I used to wonder why she worried so much if her coconut burfi turned a little less than pure white, after having cooked for some years in my own kitchen now I understand the feeling when I mess up something.

Rave Unde is one nammamma's signature dishes and I do not deviate from her recipe. She uses upma rava and not the fine chiroti rava, she uses a little bit of warm milk to bind them and does not use a heap of ghee in this recipe and the rave unde turns out soft and delicious. When we were kids, my brother used to fill his shorts pockets with these and always got caught by amma with the crumbs sticking to them when she took them for washing :-), but then he used to stuff his pockets with all kinds of things from pencils and erasers to snacks taken stealthily from the pantry and it would be an unrecognizable mixture in the pocket by the time it went to the wash. My brother had such a sweet tooth he loved the rave undes and never eat them less than one unde in the mouth at a time :-). I was sneakier and would eat them without leaving traces of the crime.

A few years ago (read a couple of decades back), pure saffron was either unavailable in most grocery stores in India or it was exorbitantly priced. One of my cousins visiting from the US at that time had brought a small box of saffron for amma and she was so thrilled with it, she started using it in every conceivable thing. We used to tease her that she puts saffron in coffee too if allowed. She would put it in most sweets and rave unde was no exception. I love the color it gives the unde and the mild flavor of saffron in them. Then saffron became a common enough commodity and my brother brought her bigger quantities a couple of times.

This is oh-so-easy to prepare as there is no syrup to be made or consistency to be reached. So here is a recipe for melt in the mouth, delicious rave undes with a touch of saffron.
What do you need to make rave undes/rava laddoos? 
Makes about 10-12 golf ball sized undes(balls)
1 cup upma rava (slightly coarser than the fine sooji)
3/4 cup sugar - I like the sweetness with this proportion, adjust according to your taste
1/4 cup grated dry coconut(Kobbari)
1 Tblsp cashew nuts - broken into small pieces
1 Tblsp raisins
1 Tsp ghee(clarified butter)
2 Tblsp luke warm milk
Generous pinch (about 10-12 strands) of saffron
 How do you make rave unde/rava laddoos?
  • Roast rava on medium heat with frequent stirring until it turns light pink and starts to give a nice roasted smell. 
  • Soak saffron in warm milk for about 30 minutes until the milk changes into a beautiful saffron color. 
  • Heat a pan, add ghee and fry the broken cashew pieces and raisins - raisins plump up and cashews turn light brown. 
  • Add the grated dry coconut to the pan as soon as you switch off the heat and let it stay in the warm pan so it browns slightly.  Keep aside.
  • Take the roasted rava into a wide bowl, add sugar, fried cashew, raisins, coconut gratings and saffron soaked milk while the rava is still warm. 
  • Mix everything together making sure that the saffron color gets coated uniformly on the rava, check for sugar. 
  • The warmth of the roasted rava mixed with sugar, milk and the spoonful ghee should be sufficient to shape these into balls, if needed use a few drops of luke warm milk to bind it together. 
  • Shape the mixture into golf sized balls and let it sit for 30mins or so for them to firm up. 
  • Plop these delectable undes one at a time into the mouth and enjoy :-)
  • It is important to roast rava on medium heat so it doesn't burn or stay uncooked.
  • Do not use coconut flakes sold in jars or packets in this recipe. If you cannot get the dry coconut sold in Indian stores as Kopra/Kobbari, use fresh or frozen coconut and roast them until it turns light pink and slightly dry. 
  • Sugar I get here is very fine (though not powdered) and I use it as is. If your sugar is grainy take it to the blender and  powder it by pulsing a couple of times.
  • I like to break the cashew nuts into small pieces as it helps to keep the unde together when you make the balls. Big pieces protrude out and generally cause the balls to break apart.
  • The rave unde is soft as soon you make it but after it stands for about 30 minutes, it becomes firms and stays in shape.
I made these when we went on our CA trip 2 weeks back and shared it with family.


Prathibha said...

Very delicious ladoos...I love it too..Its been ages I made them,this means I need 2 make them soon

NamsVeni Pothas said...

rave vunda is easy to prepare and very rich in taste. thanks Sattvaa for the wonderfull sweet.

Kannada Cuisine said...

These darlings look perfect, round and sweet and oh! so tasty