Indian Dessertindian_coconut balls

Coconut Balls
Coconut Ladoo
(Makes 4-6 pieces)

These yummy coconut balls are a well-known Indian dessert. Make them, and you'll find out why!

1 1/2 C shredded coconut (divided) *
14-oz. can condensed milk
1/2 C sugar (divided)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

Blend: Put all the coconut in a blender or food processor and pulse quickly to get a slightly finer textured coconut. Don't over process; you don't want coconut powder.

Dough: in a heavy saucepan over low heat, combine milk, 1 C coconut, and 1/4 C sugar. Stir continuously till mix becomes sticky and clings together, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 1/4 C sugar, and add cardamom. Keep mixing to blend thoroughly. Cool.

Assemble: form mixture into walnut-sized balls (use a little butter or ghee on your hands, if it's too sticky). Roll balls in remaining 1/2 C coconut. Chill and serve with slices of watermelon or peeled orange wedges.

* The classic recipe calls for dessicated coconut, which is like shredded coconut but finer and unsweetened. It's hard to find the dessicated variety in the U.S., so use sweetened shredded. Just pulse it in a blender as this recipe suggests.

| See more Indian recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Many of the ingredients used for Indian cooking probably aren’t in your spice shelf. And you may find them only at specialty Indian stores. So to avoid frustration, make a list of the items you need before trying out the recipes.

Watch out for those chilies! Unless you love the real hot stuff, reduce the amount of chili called for in the recipe.

Asafoetida: a powdered spice related to the fennel family.

Basmati Rice: literally “Queen of fragrance." This rice, cultivated in India, is known for its delicate flavor and fragrance.

Besan: also known as “gram flour,” made of ground chana dal, like chickpeas, only smaller and lighter in color.

Cardamom: related to the ginger family. Pods (green, brown, or black) are the best way to store cardamom. But high-quality ground is also available. A rule of thumb: 10 pods = 1 1/2 tsp. ground.

Chili: any small hot pepper, as opposed to larger, milder bell peppers; widely used in Indian cuisine.

Coriander: aka cilantro, Chinese, or Mexican parsley. Both fresh leaves and dried ground seeds are used in Indian, Asian and Mexican cuisines.

Cumin: an aromatic, kin to parsley and carrot plant; an important ingredient in chili powder. Used especially in Indian curries. It has an earthy, peppery flavor.

Curry: a generic term for a soups and stews flavored with variety of spices—most often cumin, coriander, and tumeric, but others as well. You can make curry powder or buy it commercially.

Garam Masala: literally, “hot spice,” usually a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and green cardamom seed or black cardamom pods. McCormick makes it; even Cooks Illustrated rated it highly.

Ghee: clarified butter. Melt 1 lb. unsalted butter over low heat for 20 minutes (careful not to burn), remove from heat and skim away solids. Strain through cheesecloth into a separate container and keep…forever. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. If you buy commercial ghee, make sure it comes from real butter, not hydrogenated oils.

Saffron: stigma from the crocus family; it’s the most expensive spice in the world. Buy saffron threads; before using them, steep in a little hot water for 10 minutes to release flavor.


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