The Colors of Indian Cooking

A Hollywood Screenwriter A Bollywood Kitchen

Kathy Gori

Kathy Gori
December 31
Screenwriter/Indian foodie
Kathy Gori has been cooking Indian food for 20 years. A screenwriter by trade, she works at home, so trading a hot keyboard for a hot stove is just a matter of a few steps. Kathy's obsession with Indian cooking began when her sister-in-law, who'd lived and worked in India, introduced her to the intricacies of the Indian kitchen. Thousands of hours and hundreds of dishes later, Kathy makes her own chutneys, grinds her own spices and enjoys exploring the various cuisines of the sub-continent. She has cooked for some of the Dalai Lama's monks, the Director of the Delhi Museum and President Clinton's California campaign staff. She's always learning and likes to share her knowledge and love of Indian cooking with others. In addition to her writing and cooking, Kathy was the voice of Rosemary the Telephone Operator in the series Hong Kong Phooey. She has voiced many films and commericals, winning a Cleo Award. She and her husband/writing partner Alan Berger live with their Siberian Husky Patsy in Sonoma. They are currently working on a project for producer Andrew Lazar (Get Smart) and most recently worked on the screenplay for Chaos Theory starring Ryan Reynolds.

Kathy Gori's Links

OCTOBER 27, 2011 11:25PM

Put On Your Party Pants... It's Laddu Time!

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   The holiday sweet-making season has been officially kicked off around our house with the Indian celebration of Diwali. Diwali, the Festival of Light, the celebration of the triumph of goodness over evil, is not something that I grew up celebrating in my Italian American household. No, we had stuff like Little Christmas which brought out some very "interesting" cheeses to say the least, and cakes with tiny, hard metal fortune telling treats baked into them. Bite in. Hit a Coin?! You'll have riches... so will your dentist.

   Despite this I have never met a holiday I didn't like. Celebrating something? Really? I'm down for it! Does this holiday feature some delicious tasty sweet treats? I'm double down. Are these treats easy to make with ingredients I don't have to drive 25 miles each way to whip up? Even better. I am so there. So here I am, smack in the middle of Diwali with some great easy and fast recipes. One of my favorites is Laddu.
   Laddu  are some of the most popular treats served at Diwali. These round, sweet balls of deliciousness are made of some sort of grain (yes, some are gluten free) mixed with melted butter or ghee and sugar, and finally stuffed with spices, nuts and raisins. Laddu can be made ahead and ready for party action within a couple of hours. And after all, when there's sweet stuff involved,  who doesn't want the trip from pan to mouth to be quick, quick, quick?  So, wasting no time..

Here's what to do:
In a large bowl mix together:
  2 cups of fine semolina flour (found at any grocery store)
  1 cup of fresh grated coconut (you can always use frozen as I did, which can be gotten at most Hispanic or Asian markets.)
Mix it all together well, then cover the bowl and set it aside for at least a 1/2 hour or so.
In a large skillet or kadhai, melt 1/2 cup of ghee or 1/2 cup which is the same as 1 stick of unsalted butter. Melt it on medium heat.

When the butter is melting and foamy, add in the semolina and coconut mixture. Turn the heat down and saute the semolina and coconut.

Don't let the mixture brown, (keep stirring.) You want it nice and plump and golden, like this. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Put the mixture onto a plate and let it cool.
Meanwhile, here's the only scary part (for me) about making this dessert, and that is...

The Sugar Syrup.
Mix together:
  1 and 1/2 cup of sugar
  1 cup of water
in the skillet or kadhai.
Stir it around until the sugar melts  at a medium heat.
Then cook it down on a lower heat until the sugar water mixture gets to what is called single thread consistency. This is usually the part I hate as I get very nervous around melting sugar.
Here's a little explanation of Single Thread Consistency. What I did was watch the sugar syrup like a hawk until my candy thermometer came to about 222 degrees.

When the sugar syrup reaches that perfect temperature, take the pan off the flame.
Add in:
 20 golden raisins
 20 cashews

The ground up seeds from 8 cardamom pods
Mix everything together well.

Put a lid on things and let it sit for 30 minutes.
 Now for the fun.

Making The Laddus
Take the mixture and shape it into small balls by rolling it in the palms of your hands.
Little tip:  One thing that helps in doing this is moistening your hands.

This should make anywhere from 24 to 30 laddus. Store the laddus in an airtight container in the fridge. If you can't get your laddus into the right shape right away, just pop them in the fridge for a bit and then roll them again to a smooth and shiny finish.

   Serve them up with a cup of chai, or whatever makes your parties perfect! These were amazingly delicious and popular with everyone and will be making a repeat appearance on my table throughout the holiday season.

   Coming up next, these laddu are not the only sort out there. Another laddu is coming up that's completely gluten free! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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They sound absolutely scrumptious!
sitting here with a cuppa chai and a laddu..they are so good. Posting a gluten free version next
I've never cooked with cardamom. What type of flavour does it have?
It's a mild fragrant spice .. Used in Indian cooking and often in Scananavian food too. Used in both savories and sweets. Hard for me to describe try it and let me know how you like it