Yesterday was Karthigai Deepam festival. we light lots and lots of diyas (clay lamps), pray and have a good feast along with some special treats prepared for this occasion. After prayer, we keep the diyas all over the home and outside. It is such a mesmerizing sight to see your home completely decorated with those warm lamps. And it spreads warm wishes to all. After being mesmerized under the beauty of these lamps, we enjoy the special treats. Pori urundai (puffed rice balls), kadalai urundai (peanut ladoo), thattai etc are traditionally prepared for this festival. I love the pori urundai my mom makes and it used to be your after school snack for a week.
Thinking of all those days, I made pecan ladoo aka pecan urundai instead of peanut ladoo (shhh....this to is my favorite). Pecans are delicious and have a buttery taste. It is rich in Vitamin E and polyphenolic antioxidant like ellagic acid. So please try to include it in your diet. The ladoos, I made, came out best and it got emptied completely within a few minutes. When my son asked me, "Could I have one for my school snack tomorrow?", Oh! wow! was all my expression, as he has never asked for any ladoos before and I decided to make another batch. Okay....here is the simple recipe.
Pecan - 2 cups
Jaggery - 1 cup plus 2 tbsp
Cardamom - 1
Water - 1/2 cup
Toast the pecan for about 8 - 10 mins till it is crisp. Once it is cool, chop into small pieces.
In a medium sauce pan, add the jaggery and water, and simmer. Once all the jaggery is dissolved, filter to remove impurities. Return the pan with pure jaggery water simmer on a medium flame. In about 10 min, you should have a good syrup consistency that can be used to make ladoos. Add the crushed cardamom.
Just drop a little of the syrup into a bowl with cold water. The syrup consistency is perfect if you are able to roll a soft ball with the syrup inside water.
Switch off the flame and add it to the pecans. Mix well and when the heat is bearable start taking handfuls and roll into balls. Continue till all the ladoos are made with the pecan mixture.
The consistency of the syrup is very important to make nut chikkis or urundais. So checking with a bowl of water is very helpful. If the consistency is not reached, the syrup will dissolve in water. If you roll a hard ball in water, then the syrup has reached a very thick consistency and cannot be used for making ladoos. the ladoos will fall apart and wont hold together if the consistency is not perfect.
Small bits of coconut can also be added after toasting to the pecans.