The Rice Laddus are by far one of Mangalore's most favourite sweets which has been around for ages. While it is made by people of all religions, it has a special place in the 'Kuswar' made by Mangalorean Catholics for Christmas. Kuswar is an assortment of sweets & savouries - I will dedicate a separate post for them shortly. Not too many people make the entire Kuswar (the whole range of sweets & savouries) anymore as it's easily available at bakeries & sweet shops in and around Mangalore. However, the Rice Laddu is something that many people prefer to make in small quantities at home so that it can be consumed fresh & finished before they turn hard & stale. Although my mom joined the bandwagon of making just the basic sweets & buying the rest from the famous M.D'Souza & Sons - Bakers, Confectioners & Caterers of our times, she would never fail to make the Rice Laddus.
My mum-in-law who taught me to make this lovely sweet tells me that in the olden days it was made at home by the rich & poor alike - even by those who couldn't afford to make expensive sweets at home would at least make the humble Rice Laddus made out of unpolished rice, jaggery & coconut - staple items in every poor man's house.
The roasting of the rice helps the grains to fluff up & lends a nutty flavour to the Laddus. This along with the mild taste of jaggery soaked with shreds of fresh & juicy grated coconut just melts in the mouth. The sesame provides the surprise factor when you get to bite into a couple of them when you are busy munching the Laddu. The pinch of salt should not be underestimated as it brings out all the lovely flavours. The mild fragrance of cardamom blended with roasted & powdered rice is something that lingers on - not just in your kitchen, but on your taste buds too! So try this anytime - it hardly takes 15-20 minutes to make it!
Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: Nil | Yield 10-12 laddus
- 250 gms boiled rice (preferably brown unpolished rice as it lends a nice colour)
- 150 gms jaggery (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 grated coconut (1 vole as it's called in Konkani)
- 2-3 pods of cardamom
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (Til)
- pinch of salt
1. Wash the rice and dry it well.
2. Roast it on a hot tawa on a slow flame till the grains fluff up a bit - this takes about 10mins
3. Powder the rice along with the cardamom to an almost fine texture - like very fine sand (leave it slightly grainy - this avoids the laddu flour from turning into a paste when you eat it & stick to the roof of your mouth which is not a pleasant experience). Reserve 1 tbsp of flour for rolling the laddus
4. Pound the jaggery to remove lumps or use the dry jar of mixer grinder - you can grind the jaggery & coconut together to achieve a coarse consistency - do not grind it to a paste, just swirl the two for about 3-4 seconds
5. Mix the jaggery & coconut mixture with the rice powder. Add the sesame seeds & pinch of salt. Mix everything well so all the flavours get incorporated.
6. Take a portion of mixture in your palm and compress in your fist to make a tight ball. The tighter the ball the better you will be able to shape it into a round laddu. If you don't make it tight enough, when you roll it into a laddu the mixture will crumble.
7. Roll each laddu in the reserved flour & serve.