Mother of two, Recipe Developer, Cookbooks Author, and Food Photographer
Life is a journey of learning for Ela Gupta, a US-based software, management, and SAP professional.
Ela is passionate about food. She is a food photographer, recipe developer, and author. Her cookbooks include Divine Festive Recipes -Diwali Special, and Celebrate the goodness of Lentils, Peas, and Beans. She also has a cookbook in progress geared specifically for adolescents, and one for Holi, The Festival of Colors.
Ela enjoys cooking at home, and focuses on simple, nutritious recipes. Ela enjoys spending time with her family, and believes good cooking is about all about caring for yourself and those close to you.
For 2016, the International Year of Pulses, Ela created a new dessert recipe: besan laddu (gram lentil flour sweets).
The benefits of gram lentils have been known for centuries, they even appear in an ancient legend. The fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, (widely known for ‘Taj Mahal’) was dethroned by his son Aurangzeb. After taking his throne, Aurangzeb ordered his father imprisoned for life.
Shah Jahan was only allowed to pick one grain for his meals during his life imprisonment. The Emperor’s royal chef recommended gram lentils, or “chana dal.” He couldn’t have made a better choice.
Modern research shows gram lentils are very high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. These lentils prevent diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. To top of it, Gram lentils are one of the most versatile grains. They can be used in delicous recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and outstanding desserts like besan laddu.
Ela's ebook "Celebrate the Goodness of Lentils, Peas, and Beans" launched on January 18, 2017 for Global Pulse Day. Sample "Celebrate the Goodness of Lentils, Peas, and Beans" here, and find out more at Ela's Cookbooks.
More from Ela Gupta
Besan Laddu (The Gram Lentil Flour Sweets)
As the name suggests, these delectable Besan Laddus are made from the coarse flour of a very wholesome Chana dal (Gram lentil) called 'besan'. Its astounding flavor derives from the slow and proper roasting of besan. It can easily be stored for a month or so, in an airtight container. Besan Laddu teams up great with a hot cup of milk, or with a small serving of plain yogurt!
- 2 cups coarse besan (coarse gram flour)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, as per your preference
- ¾ to 1 cup ghee (clarified ghee)
- 1 tsp cardamom powder, freshly ground
- Handful of almonds, finely chopped
- Few cashew nuts, raisins, pistachios, pecan or walnuts, and almonds for garnishing
- Few strands of saffron
- In a heavy nonstick pan, melt the ghee over low-medium heat. Reduce the heat to lowest, and add the besan.
- Adjust the heat to low-medium, and roast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add the almonds, magaz seeds, and cardamom powder, stirring frequently, until toasted and warmed through, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the besan to a mixing bowl and let cool to luke warm; add sugar and stir to combine well.
- Now roll the sweetened besan mixture into laddus (small lemon size solid balls).
- Garnish with whole nuts, and serve.
- You may easily store it in an airtight container for a month or more.
Besan (Gram flour) should neither be under-roasted nor over-roasted.
Make sure that the besan is slight/luke warm before you add the sugar to it.
You may also serve it as a mixture with some fresh plain yogurt.
It takes some practice to roll the laddus from the mixture. Place a scoop of mixture on your palm, firmly press it 2 to 3 times with your fist. Later roll it on your palm to give it a smooth and nice round shape.
Note: All the ingredients are available at the Indian grocery stores.