Friday, 18 September 2015

APRICOT/KHUBANI LADDOOS ( VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE, SUGAR FREE ) - HAPPY GANESH PUJA


As the 10 day long festivities of GANESH Chaturthi continues in India, far away in my humble home in Dubai we too usher in the celebrations. I make it a point to celebrate almost all the INDIAN festivals which I grew up rejoicing either at my home or a friend's house or the community puja centre, no matter how tied up I am with work. Most INDIAN families who live far away from their homeland, in my conversations with them, I have learnt that just like me they make it a point to celebrate these festivals either at home or in the community collective celebrations. Most of my friends or aquantainces have echoed my thought, that it's these festivals which help us remain connected to our roots and bring forth our rich culture and traditions to our children.

Little D is super excited about each of these Pujas and now knows what most of them signifies. I am lucky that apart from me both her grandparents have instilled in her our enigmatic heritage. I too relay to her the stories that was told to me by my mother who in turn had heard it from her mother and so on and so forth. These stories, many of which have been passed on from one generation to the other, is heartening to know, still survives and has not got lost with time. Off course the Internet and Google have now made many of our mythological stories available at the click of a mouse which is so wonderful. 

My mother had a wonderful way of teaching us lessons of life. She always had a story in her magical bag which she would pull out whenever she felt that we needed to learn something. I am yet to find out how the right story came to her mind at the right time. Here I am struggling to remember stories to tell little D when she asks for them. The nights when I am the designated bed time story teller I still call my Ma and cross check with her the story to see if I have got all the characters correct or not.

I wanted to share this mythological story, again which many INDIAN kids must be knowing with you my beautiful readers. It's a story of Lord Ganesha when he was a little kid. It's a story Ma had told us to teach us about humility.


The story goes that King Kubera was the treasurer of Paradise and was known as the Custodian of wealth. His treasure trove of wealth and riches made him conceited. One day with the motive of showing off his wealth he reached Kailasha which was the abode of Lord Ganesha's parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Kubera lived in a magnificent city called Alkapuri which was known for its grandeur. So after paying his greetings to the Gods, Kubera invited Lord Shiva to a feast in his palace in the City of Alkapuri. Lord Shiva being the Supersoul that He was read Kuberas mind and his intentions immediately. He at once knew the feast was just a facade, Kubera's real intention was to flaunt his opulence and treasures. So He told Kubera that it was impossible for Him to leave Kailasha and go to Alkapuri. Goddess Parvati too refused to go without her husband. Hearing this Kubera was disappointed and he said that he didn't expect that he would return empty handed from Gods abode. Lord Shiva then told him that he could take Lord Ganesha with him as little kid  Ganesha was very fond of food.

So off went Ganesha with Kubera in his flying Charriot made of gold to the golden city of Alkapuri. Alkapuri was truly striking and dazzling in its golden hues. Lord Ganesha was ushered into the royal dinning room and served delicacies from savoury to sweet. Lord Ganesha finished the first serving then the second, then the third and continued to eat till he had finished all the food that was there in the city of Alkapuri. He was still not satiated and asked Kubera to serve him more food. Kubera with regret told him that there was no more food left in the entire city of Alkapuri. Lord Ganesha was very angry and told Kubera that he didn't care. He was a guest in his city and therefore Kubera was humiliating and insulting him by not serving him food. In a rage Lord Ganesha told Kubera that if you don't serve me food right now I will eat you up.

Hearing this Kubera was scared out of his wits. He climbed on his Charriot and rushed to Kailasha and fell on the feet of Lord Shiva asking him to help him, to protect him. When Lord Shiva asked him what the matter was and why he looked so scared, Kuber said that you are omnipresent my Lord and you know everything. I am unable to satiate your son's hunger and he has threatened to eat me. Then Lord Shiva said that you Kubera is the custodian of huge amount of wealth and you could not take care of the hunger of a small kid. Kubera folded his hands and kneeled down in front of the Lord and asked for forgiveness. He said he was ashamed that he had come to invite the Gods with conceit in his mind and Lord Ganesha had shattered his vanity. Goddess Parvati smiled and said , it's good that you have realised your mistake. Then Lord Shiva said that "A person blessed with wealth and prosperity should be like a tree laden with fruits, which always bends low. Take this bowl of cooked rice and offer it to Lord Ganesha with humility and respect and that will be enough to take care of his hunger. " Kubera a changed man now rushed with the bowl of rice to Alkapuri to find that Lord Ganesha had eaten up all the utensils, tables, pillars etc. in his place. He with humbleness offered the bowl of rice to Lord Ganesha and asked him to forgive him for not being a good host. But this time Kuberas humbleness had melted the heart of Ganesha and he had the bowl of rice and told Kubera that now his hunger was satiated. In this manner Lord Ganesha taught Kubera the very important lesson of humility.

The sweet I have shared here today takes less than 15 minutes to make a batch of 12-15 Laddoos or pops and does not involve any cooking or refrigeration. Within 15 minutes or less you are ready to pop these fruity little nutritious spheres into your mouth and kids love them too. These spheres are vegan, sugar free, dairy free, gluten free and most importantly guilt free. This 4 ingredient sweet can be stored for a month or more and is the perfect answer to your in between meals hunger pangs with no extras added to your waistline. Presenting my APRICOT LADDOOS, just perfect for the festive season, because they look and taste so good. Keep them handy always and along with satiating your sweet cravings add oodles of health to your system. Apricot is a known source of dietary fibre, supremely rich in antioxidants, iron and potassium, low in calories. The chart below will give you an idea why you should include apricots in your diets frequently.

APRICOT/KHUBANI LADDOOS RECIPE:

AUTHOR : PIYALI MUTHA
YIELDS : 6 LADDOOS/POPS/SPHERES OF MEDIUM SIZE
TYPE : SWEETS/ DESSERTS/ SNACKS
TIME : 15 MINUTES FOR PREPARATION AND SHAPING

INGREDIENTS :

1) 200 Gms of dried apricots/Khubani
2) 1 Tbsp of fresh or frozen grated coconut OR desiccated coconut 
3) 100 Gms of seedless dates/khajur
4) 6 Whole almonds blanched and skinned
5) Edible silver foil ( optional )

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE KHUBANI/APRICOT LADDOOS :

1) Grind the apricot along with the grated coconut into a smooth sticky dough like paste. Do not use any water to grind. Grind the seedless dates into a similar thick dough like paste without water. Blanche the almonds and skin them, keep aside ready to use.

2) Pinch out a little of the date paste and make a small sphere by rolling it between your palms. Flatten the date sphere by pressing to look like a round disc and place one almond in the center of it. Bring in the edges of the date disc and again form a sphere by rolling it and shaping it between your palms.


3) Take double the quantity of Apricot paste than that of date paste taken in step 2.Shape it like a sphere in between your palms. Then flatten it out like a disc by using pressure. Place the date almond sphere right in the center. Bring the edges of the apricot disc together and shape it back like a sphere with your palms.


4) Roll the Apricot Laddoos in the silver foils one at a time and place them on a plate ready to serve. You can store these laddoos in an airtight container either refrigerated or in a cool dry place for 15 days or more.
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APRICOT/KHUBANI LADDOOS RECIPE:

AUTHOR : PIYALI MUTHA
YIELDS : 6 LADDOOS/POPS/SPHERES OF MEDIUM SIZE
TYPE : SWEETS/ DESSERTS/ SNACKS
TIME : 15 MINUTES FOR PREPARATION AND SHAPING

INGREDIENTS :

1) 200 Gms of dried apricots/Khubani
2) 1 Tbsp of fresh or frozen grated coconut OR desiccated coconut 
3) 100 Gms of seedless dates/khajur
4) 6 Whole almonds blanched and skinned
5) Edible silver foil ( optional )

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE KHUBANI/APRICOT LADDOOS :

1) Grind the apricot along with the grated coconut into a smooth sticky dough like paste. Do not use any water to grind. Grind the seedless dates into a similar thick dough like paste without water. Blanche the almonds and skin them, keep aside ready to use.

2) Pinch out a little of the date paste and make a small sphere by rolling it between your palms. Flatten the date sphere by pressing to look like a round disc and place one almond in the center of it. Bring in the edges of the date disc and again form a sphere by rolling it and shaping it between your palms.

3) Take double the quantity of Apricot paste than that of date paste taken in step 2.Shape it like a sphere in between your palms. Then flatten it out like a disc by using pressure. Place the date almond sphere right in the center. Bring the edges of the apricot disc together and shape it back like a sphere with your palms.

4) Roll the Apricot Laddoos in the silver foils one at a time and place them on a plate ready to serve. You can store these laddoos in an airtight container either refrigerated or in a cool dry place for 15 days or more.
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