As I watch my little one grow, I'm amazed to see how she expresses herself through her coos, lip smacks and jerky arm and leg movements. She loves to throw her hands up in air and cycles her feet hard. Her energy levels are high and infectious and can tire the most active ones too!
She's expressive, loves experimenting with different facial expressions — pouting her lips, raising her eyebrows, widening her eyes and furrowing her brow. She enjoys being a part of crowd, loves to be cuddled, hugged and pampered. I guess she recognizes me well now. I don't exactly remember when she smiled first, but she smiles more often now and rewards me with beaming, toothless grins and that makes up for all the sleep deprived nights I have been through. It's magical.
In the past two months, my life has changed by leaps and bounds. Along with her birth, came shoulders of responsibility for my mother too. She's stressed by the new demands of having a baby in the house as she holds dual responsibility... both for me and my baby. Primarily my food concerns her the most, since as a lactating mother, traditionally there's a diet pattern to be followed and she takes care of those needs. The recipe I post here today comes from my mother which she made specifically for my nursing period.
Gaund ke Laddu or Panjiri is a popular North Indian sweet made from whole wheat flour and edible gum fried in clarified butter, heavily laced with almonds. Gaund is an edible gum extracted from the bark of a tree and is known to provide heat to our body, hence usually consumed in the winters. Panjiri is normally given to nursing mothers as it helps in increasing the body heat, hence assist in the production of breast milk.
Gaund ke Laddu - Panjiri
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup clarified butter (ghee)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup Gaund (edible gum)
1/2 cup puffed lotus seed (makhana)
1/2 cup khus khus (poppy seeds)
1 tsp powder ajwain (carom seed)
1 tsp dry ginger powder
In the frying pan, add a tablespoon of ghee and fry the chopped makhana for few minutes till they become crisp. Don't let them brown too much. Mix in the khus khus and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in the same frying pan and fry gaund. Gaund comes in form of yellow translucent crystals of varying sizes. Hence the amount of ghee required to fry them will depend on the size. If you think they havn't cooked well, add in more ghee. Fry them until they puff up like popcorn. Crush them with hand or in a food processor. Set aside.
In same frying pan, add the remaining ghee and fry whole wheat flour on low flame till it is aromatic and has changed it's color slightly. Add in the chopped almonds, ajwain and ginger powder to the fried flour and stir fry for another 10 minutes. Stir the mixture continuously to prevent burning.
Add the remaining fried ingredients, the gaund, khus khus and makhana to the flour mixture. Mix it well and roast for another few minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately add in the powdered sugar and mix the entire stuff well quickly. Shape them into laddus while the mixture is hot or serve as is. Store them in an air tight container. Since there is no water content, these laddus will stay fresh for long.
The makhana and the gaund here is deep fried in ghee and then added to the dish. However you can try roasting them with lesser amount of fat to cut down on those unwanted calories. My mother substituted khus khus in place of melon seeds which are traditionally used.
These delicious gaund laddus are rich in taste and may sound heavy on calories, but who cares? I'm going through 'once a lifetime' phase and during this period I am pampered for a festive indulgence. I relish this traditional winter delicacy with a glass of warm milk for breakfast. They make up for a great dessert too.
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