Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Dozen Laddoos

I have been, for the past five days, in search of laddoos. Mostly because I saw this post on SepiaMutiny about how laddoos were associated with Ganesha Chaturthi, and thought "well, then I want a laddoo too!"

After all, I've never really had one. I had a sesame seed laddoo once (S. bought it for me at a desi grocery) but it was dry and seedy and not exactly the giant sugar-and-ghee filled mound of goodness that I've heard described.

So I went in search of a better laddoo. And I found, for some strange reason, that there weren't any on campus. None. Nowhere. Not even in front of Lord Ganesh himself (the prasadam was rice only ^__^).

The campus had two bakeries, but the closest thing I could find was a kind of "sand laddoo;" that is, something small and round and hard, gray-colored, tasting of sand, which was fished out of a plastic jar. When I bit into it the rest crumbled and fell through my fingers.

I knew that wasn't what the people on SepiaMutiny were raving about. They usually only rave about good things. ^__^

Thus I went into the city today in search of bakeries. I had to go to three before I finally found one that actually sold laddoos. (Impossible, yes?) But the one I found was a treasure trove. Plump, round, shining laddoos of all colors and consistencies.

I snagged a dozen (a baker's dozen, no less) and took them back to the guest house to share with the visiting faculty.

When I bit into my first "real" laddoo, my unadulterated, spontaneous response was "Oh, shit!" In that good way. ^__^ I passed the box, with its layers of tissue, to a friend, and his reaction was exactly the same as mine. Verbatim. These laddoos were possibly the best thing I've ever tasted, and certainly the best thing I've ever tasted in Hyderabad.

One of the visiting fac who knew the area finally asked to look at the box. When he saw the name of the baker (which I can't read, since it's in Telugu), he told me that I had purchased these laddoos from the most famous bakery in Hyderabad. Pure serendipity on my part. But well, well worth it.

Am very happy and satisfied. ^__^

10 comments:

Avinash said...

The classic laddoo is the north Indian one, made out of motichoor. There are a lot of different types, of course, but my favourite is the motichoor laddoo. Now, they make something similar to the motichoor laddoo in Karnataka (maybe in the other southern states also), which is just awful. The Karnataka laddoo, called laadoo, has some other bigger-grained dal (yuk),granular sugar (yuk!) and cloves (yuk!!!).

Shruti said...

Reading ur blog is making me home sick:-) I miss home soo much ...home is hyd for me:-)..thank you

Daniel said...

what's a laddoo? (none of these words make sense in English to me!)

Anonymous said...

Daniel -- got to any Indian "Sweet" shop in your city. Ask for a Ladoo -- it's a round yellow ball.

Ennis said...

I actually love something that sounds like a sand ladoo - a Ladoo-Pini (Chick pea, flour, butter & sugar).

It's crunchy and crumbly and yum!

div said...

Pulla Reddy Sweets????

Srini said...

No offense, but going to bakeries looking for laddoo is like going to Sam's Club looking for gourmet coffee! Look out for "sweet shops" - words to look out for are Swagruha, Sweets (As in Pulla Reddy Sweets), Abhiruchi. These shops sell different types of sweets including north and south indian version of Laddoos. The best and the oldest shop, as far as I know, is Pulla Reddy Sweets. (http://www.gpullareddysweets.org/)

Blue said...

Avinash -- I have no clue what my laddoos are made from. I got a variety pack, so they're all a little different. My favorite has been the bright yellow one.

Shruti -- hi! You left a comment recently about at which university I was located... don't wanna reveal all the details online but it should be pretty obvious. Hyd is your home? Great! Sorry you miss it, though.

Daniel -- um... Google. ^__^

Ennis -- that pic looks nothing like my sand laddoo. The one I had was gray all over, with no nuts. Yours looks much better.

Div -- don't have a clue. The writing on the box is in Telugu only. Will have to ask someone and get back to you. ^__^

Avinash said...

Bright yellow means that it could have been a motichoor laddoo

Anonymous said...

Blue,

Just to help you identify various forms of laddoos, here are some of the varieties:
- boondi laddoo - made of boondi (yes, the same stuff raita is made of) in sugar syrup. The S. Indian version is drier Motichoor laddoo - a subvariant of this is the North Indian moti-choor - the boondi is if smaller diameter and laddoo is wetter(more sugar syrup. The Tirupati laddoo is a S.Indian version of the laddoo, made with less ghee/sugar and with bits of rock sugar and other good stuff in it.
- Rava Laddoo - made of semolina and sugar. (and butter and milk)
- Besan Laddoo - chick-pea flour.
(laddoos can be made of any flour actually)

For some reason balls of nuts (like peanuts or sesame seed) are not called laddoos - their names usually translate into x-ball, where x is the nut/seed used. Such balls also usually use jaggery, not sugar.

Happy laddoo discovery...

Bitterlemons