Finally we are having the first rain of winter season in Islamabad, as I write this piece. Eating oranges and dry fruits, wearing caps and mufflers, sitting in a quilt (“razai”) and watching a nice movie along with the heaters burning. This is what “Islamabad-ki-sardi” feels like.

In my neighborhood, lives a simple and sweet aunty. She is very energetic and social. She invited me today to learn and help her mak “saunf kay ladoo”. My first reaction was, “aunty homemade ladoo in this cold, damp and rainy morning with a sore throat and flu?” She laughed and said, “betay aur kis mosam mein khao ge?” (what other weather is better for ladoos than this?”. Few minutes later I was making ladoo as I could not resist the temptation mainly because it was my first chance to make something like a ladoo and I was excited.

At her place, listening to her folk tales from Azad Kashmir and how every household makes these ladoos with the first downpour of the winters. Time passed quickly indeed.

Cutting a long story short, we made heavenly tasting ladoos with ghee (oil) and atta (wheat flour). We used gurh (jaggery) instead of sugar and flavored it with saunf and nuts. I never thought I would ever make ladoos in my entire life, but it was really fun and not that difficult at all . I kept eating the mixture while we were still shaping them and she gave a sweet smile with an “I told you so” kind of expression. I will never forget this adventure! Are you setting out on an adventure of your own this rainy season?

Ingredients:

  • Wheat flour (Atta) – 1 kg
  • Ghee (Purified Butter) – 750 gms
  • Gurh (Jaggery)– 1 kg, powdered or roughly grounded
  • Fennel Seeds (Saunf) – ½ kg, finely powdered
  • Almonds –  250 gms  finely powdered
  • Currants (Kishmish) – 250 gms
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes
  • Cooking time : 30-40 minutes
  • Number of servings (yield) : 14-16 pieces

Instructions:

  • Take a pan and dry roast the fennel seeds (saunf) on a low flame until  a nice aroma can be smelt.
  • Once it is cooled, finely pulse it in a grinder to make it like a powder.
  • In a big pot, add ghee and let it melt, add the wheat flour (atta) and let it simmer in the ghee.
  • Cook it on a medium low flame.
  • Stir in frequently so the wheat flour does not burn.
  • Keep it cooking until you smell the aroma of wheat and it changes its color.
  • The mixture will turn into a dry crumble like texture.
  •  Add the gurh and mix it thoroughly in the wheat flour, keep on mixing until it starts to mix well and mixture leaves the bottom of the pan.
  • If you press the crumble mixture, it will combine very well.
  • The entire process will take around 20 minutes or so. Be patient
  •  Lastly, add the fennel seeds, almonds and currants. Combine them in the ladoo mixture well.
  • Use a large steel or wooden spoon, it will help in getting the mixture mixed well.
  •  Let the mixture rest and cool for about 15 – 20 minutes, and then start making some round ladoos.
  • Once ready, roll them in the fennel powder for an additional touch of flavor, dust off the excess powder.
  • Absolutely delicious and healthy ladoos are ready, a perfect snack to keep to you warm in winters.
  • Serve with a cup unsweetened green tea.

Fatima Ali

I am trained to be an IT professional. I served National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) for six years after graduating from the same university. As long as I can remember, cooking good food has been my passion and it makes me happy. My cooking lessons were a bit unusual though. Back in the day when digital did not mean much, my father would record cooking shows (knorr ka kitchen, kaukab khuwaja and Zee Khana Khazana – Chef Sanjeev Kapoor) for me to watch endless times later on, before trying the recipes out. I would make brownies and cold cake almost every day while my mother was asleep. This was my way of surprising her every evening. My mother cooks amazing food too and I have tried many of the recipes written in her recipe book. I draw inspiration from a number of chefs from televised cooking shows such as Late Chef Farah, Chef Rahat, Chef Mehboob, BBC Food, Masala TV, Chef Shai, Chef Sharmeen, Master Chef Australia and my ultimate favorite Chef Shireen Anwer. I would not be as good a cook I am now without passive guidance from each one of these.