Have you ever tasted Ram Laddoo? If you have, I’m sure you have been blown away by its myriad flavours. If you haven’t yet, you must, at the earliest!
What on earth is Ram Laddoo?
For the uninitiated, I’ll start by saying this isn’t your regular laddoo. This is no sweetmeat. Ram Laddoo, popular street food in Delhi, is in fact a chaat made using deep-fried lentil fritters. The crisp fritters are served with a unique garnish of grated radish, along with the usual sweet and spicy chutneys and finely chopped onion that are the mainstay of chaats.
Ram Laddoo is loaded with flavour, which will definitely take anyone’s tastebuds on a joyride. I read about them a few years ago, while researching about food, and then had the pleasure of experiencing it in person in Delhi. As expected, the robust flavours had me asking for more! Since then, this has been a regular at our house.
#ItsChaatTime at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this Monday is #ItsChaatTime, wherein group members are showcasing different chaat varieties on their blogs.
The term ‘chaat‘ is loosely used to mean a snack, typically sold on the streets, which is a delicious medley of sweet and spicy and sour and salty. There are hundreds of varieties of chaat popular across India, including but not limited to Bhel Poori, Sev Poori, Dabeli, Dahi Poori, Churmuri, Masala Poori, Tomato Slice, Pineapple Masala and Ragda Pattice. Chaat is more than just a snack in India; it is a way of life – heading out for a plate of chaat is a ritual, and conversations over chaat are commonplace. The husband and I are big fans of chaat too, as are thousands of other Indians. I have often waxed eloquent on the blog about my love of chaat, and was secretly thrilled when Swaty of Food Trails decided upon the current theme for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. 🙂
I have already shared a number of chaat varieties on the blog and, for this theme, decided on our favourite Ram Laddoo recipe.Swaty has a wonderful blog, with some really interesting recipes from the world over and brilliant pictures. I love her recipes for unique chaat dishes like Aloo Chane Chaat, Papadi Katoris and Vrat Ki Papdi Chaat!
How to make Ram Laddoo
Ram Laddoo is typically made using moong dal, with other lentils like chana dal sometimes being added in. This chaat recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is entirely gluten-free as well.
With lockdowns in place across India, thanks to the Corona virus pandemic, going out to enjoy chaat has become a distant dream. However, it is very much possible to whip up a plateful of delicious chaat at home, if you can get hold of the right ingredients. Please find below the detailed proceedure to make Ram Laddoo.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- 3/4 cup moong dal
- 1/4 cup chana dal
- 2 green chillies
- Salt to taste
- Oil, as needed for deep frying
- Meethi Chutney, as needed
- Hari Chutney, as needed
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 of a medium-sized radish, peeled and grated
- Roasted cumin (jeera) powder, as needed
- Chaat masala, as needed
1. Wash the chana dal and moong dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Then, take the dals together in a large vessel and add in enough fresh water to cover them completely. Let the dals soak for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
2. Once the dals are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Transfer the drained dals to a mixer jar. Chop up the green chillies roughly and add them in too. Grind everything together, coarsely, adding very little water. The batter should have a thick consistency, and should not be watery.
3. Add salt to taste to the batter. Mix well.
4. Now, heat the oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. When the oil is nice and hot, reduce flame to medium. Drop in a few small balls of the batter into the hot oil, and deep-fry on medium flame till they get nicely browned and crisp. Take care to ensure that the fritters do not burn. When done, transfer the fritters to a plate. Prepare fritters from all the batter in a similar fashion.
5. You can use the fritters to make chaat once they have cooled down slightly. For this, arrange some of the fritters in a serving plate. Drizzle some Meethi Chutney and Hari Chutney over them. Garnish with some grated radish and finely chopped onion. Add some roasted cumin powder and chaat masala on top. Your Ram Laddoo are ready to serve. Serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks
1. The proportion of moong dal and chana dal differ from one person to another. Some make the fritters with moong dal only. I prefer the proportions listed above. I often make the fritters with chana dal only, and they taste just as delicious.
2. Do not add in too much water while grinding. The batter should be thick and have a droppable consistency.
3. Adjust the number of green chillies you add to the batter, as per personal taste preferences.
4. Take care to to not burn the fritters while frying. They should be crisp and nicely browned on the outside, with a fully-cooked interior.
5. The quantities of the garnishes you use – chopped onion, grated radish, sweet and spicy chutney, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala – would depend upon your personal preferences.
6. Let the fritters cool down a bit before making the chaat. You can allow them to completely cool too.
7. Black salt (kala namak) can be used to garnish the Ram Laddoo, instead of the chaat masala.
8. The fritters can be cooked in an appe (paniyaram) pan, instead of deep-frying them. This makes the chaat healthier.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
I am a big, big, big fan of chaat. The way chaat has sweet and spicy and sour and salty flavours rolled into one has my heart. And there’s so much variety, so many different types of chaat, I can never tire. Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for Meethi Chutney, an integral part of a chaat platter.
What is Meethi Chutney?
‘Meethi Chutney’ is Hindi for sweet chutney. It is, actually, a sweet and sour chutney, typically made using tamarind. The sweetness comes from the use of dates or jaggery in it.
Making chaat like Bhel Poori, Dabeli or Sev Poori is unimaginable without a generous dose of this chutney, often used along with its spicy counterpart Hari Chutney. The sweet chutney also makes for a wonderful accompaniment to snacks like cutlets, samosa, kachori and gota. It is also used in preparing Dal Moradabadi, a dal which also doubles up as a chaat.
A bit about my way of making Meethi Chutney
Like I was saying earlier, this Meethi Chutney is made using tamarind (‘imli‘ in Hindi), due to which it is also referred to as ‘Imli Ki Chutney’. Very often, this chutney is sweetened using dates, but I use jaggery since I’m not very fond of the texture the former lends to the dish. Roasted cumin powder is the ‘cherry on the cake’ for this chutney, giving it a beautiful fragrance and flavour.
In itself, this Meethi Chutney is completely vegetarian and vegan (plant-based). It is also entirely gluten-free. I usually make a big batch of this chutney, keep it refrigerated and use as needed.
How I make the Meethi Chutney
Here is how I go about it.
Ingredients (makes about 1 bowlful):
- A big lemon-sized ball of tamarind
- 3/4 cup jaggery powder or to taste
- 2 teaspoons roasted cumin (jeera) powder
1. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for at least 15 minutes, to soften it. Keep aside, and let it cool down enough to handle.
2. When the tamarind has cooled down a bit, extract all the juice from it. Use water as needed to help with the extraction. Keep the extract a little watery, as the chutney will thicken upon cooking.
3. Take the tamarind extract in a heavy-bottomed pan, along with the jaggery powder. Place on high heat. Soon the jaggery will get completely dissolved in the tamarind extract, which will start thickening. This should take 4-5 minutes. Stir intermittently. Taste and adjust jaggery as needed.
4. Reduce flame to medium when the extract starts thickening. Continue to cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes more, or till the mixture has thickened up a bit more. Switch off gas when it is thick, but still runny.
5. Mix in the roasted cumin powder. Your Meethi Chutney is ready.
6. Allow the Meethi Chutney to cool down completely before filling it in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated and use as needed.
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the quantity of jaggery you use, depending upon taste preferences.
2. If the tamarind you are using has seeds and/or impurities, make sure they are removed before you set out to make the Meethi Chutney. I have skipped this step because I usually don’t find any impurities in the tamarind we use.
3. Keep the tamarind extract a little watery, but not overly so. It will thicken when cooked.
4. You can add a bit of salt to the Meethi Chutney too, while it is cooking. I don’t.
5. Adjust the consistency of the Meethi Chutney as per your preferences. For best results, cook till it thickens but is still runny – neither too watery nor thick like a jam.
6. The chutney stays good for up to a month when stored refrigerated in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and used hygienically.
7. To make roasted cumin powder, dry roast about 2 tablespoons of cumin on medium flame till it gets fragrant, then allow to cool down and powder coarsely. Store this in a dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed.
8. Adjust the quantity of roasted cumin powder you use, as per personal taste preferences.
9. Some people add sugar to the Meethi Chutney, but I’m partial to jaggery. I don’t like the flavour of dates in this chutney either.
10. Black salt, red chilli powder, ginger powder and similar spices are often used in Meethi Chutney. However, I avoid them because the Hari Chutney I almost always use along with this includes all those spices/flavours.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
I’m back today with yet another paneer dish! This time around, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for Shahi Paneer Matar or Mughlai-style Matar Paneer.