Round, Sweet, Golden, Aromatic, Melts-in-the-Mouth and very very Delicious. That is what perfectly describes a Besan unDe(laDDoo). I fell in love with this delicacy during my school days when we stayed in Gulbarga, a district in North Karnataka. All my Kulkarni, Deshpande, Patil friends' moms were an expert in preparing it. As I know it, in North Karnataka, Besan UnDe or rather UnDi as they call it, is a must on the menu for any kind of celebration at home.With all the friends I had, there was no dearth of occasions(engagements,weddings, birthdays, brother/sister got into college on merit, sister had a baby, dad got a promotion etc., etc.,) that demanded Besan unDe. So, I always had one or other friend at school, with a box full of this golden delicacy, ready to share with me :-) Each time I ate it, I fell more and more in love with it.
Years passed, since I left Gulbarga. My friends, my school, all my happy childhood days that I spent there are now just memories. And somewhere among all those memories lay the memory of those delicious golden Besan UnDes that I had eaten. Amma would make her version of Besan UnDes. She followed the same recipe as that of Godhi HiTTina UnDe(Wheat Flour Laddoo), substituting Besan for Wheat Flour. These were delicious(and somewhat guilt free, as they used less Ghee) too, but my heart lay with the traditional Besan unDes of North Karnataka.
Life went on... I got married, had a son, moved to the US, and who should I meet? but a girl called Anu, who was from Gulbarga!!. Her parents were visiting her and I got to meet them, know them and in due course, the topic turned to food. I HAD to mention Besan UnDes and her mom generously offered to teach me how to make them, the way I liked it! So, one fine day(I think in 2008), just before the Gowri-Ganesha festival I kept all the ingredients ready and under Aunty's guidance, I learnt how to make Besan UnDi! :-) Thus, I found my long lost love, and now we are together for ever and ever. I am a sucker for happy(in this case sweet)endings. There is a saying by Lao Tzu that goes... " Give a man fish, and you feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime". You get the drift of where I'm going with this... :-)
Here's the recipe of Besan UnDe, so maybe one of you will find your long lost love, or better still, find new love in my "sweetheart" ;-)
2 cups Besan(Gram Flour), fine variety
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 sticks Butter, cut into 8-10 pieces OR 1 cup ghee, melted
1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
1/8 cup Milk
1/4 cup Cashew pieces and Raisins, roasted in a little ghee
1. Take the Besan in a wide, heavy bottomed pan, and put it on low-medium heat for roasting.
2. Keep stirring the besan continuously, until the color slightly changes and it starts giving out a nutty aroma.
3. Now, add a little bit of the Ghee/Butter, (approximately 1 tablespoon wrt Ghee or 1 piece wrt Butter) and keep stirring until it gets fully incorporated. Continue adding the Ghee/Butter and stirring the Besan until you have used up all the Ghee/Butter. This is a very important stage in the making of Besan UnDe. You should take care not to burn it. The trick is in keeping it on low flame and continuously stirring it.
4. After the above stage, Besan, Ghee/Butter mixture will have a very thick paste like texture. While it is still on heat, add the milk, while still stirring. At this point the mixture will bubble up and become airy and light and then settle down.
5. Now, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down completely.
6. Add the Powdered Sugar, Cardamom powder and the roasted Cashews and Raisins to the above mixture. Mix everything well, using your hands.
7. Take small portions of the mixture and roll them into round balls, using the palms of your hands. Keep each ball separately in a plate, uncovered. This is because, when you make the balls, the Ghee/Butter will slightly melt due to the warmth of your palms, and if you stack them all together, they tend to stick to each other and will be difficult to remove later. So, keep them separate for sometime, and then when they solidify, store them in a jar/container.
8. Enjoy anytime of the day or night ;-) !!