While I have lived in Mumbai for most of my formative years, my upbringing has been decidedly North Indian. That was true for the food too. Breakfast was a steady stream of Parathas for years till we complained about the amount of Ghee we were consuming on a daily basis. Our every day food was hearty Punjabi fare. I still remember the time my mother discovered a shop that sold authentic amritsari wadis. She was delighted and we had wadis in most our dishes for weeks afterwards. Slowly, we picked up the cultural influences from Maharashtra and the wada pav became as much a part of the evening snack as the pakoda. The specialities from Maharashtra were always a delicacy, to be enjoyed as a break from the regular food.
Years later, when I was a new mother and talking about meal options for my new born, my mother mentioned Nachni. Now Nachni or Ragi is a grain that is used in Maharashtra. Considered highly nutritious, young children are fed nachni porridge. Being in Delhi at that time, I could not get my hands on Nachni there and the conversation for forgotten. Fast forward two years and I am back to Mumbai. This time, with a toddler who has a massive sweet tooth. We started making besan laddoos at home to ensure that the sweets she consumes are good. Then one day, in a burst of inspiration, I got Nachni flour added to them and thus was born a highly nutritious snack – The Two States Laddoo!
Recipe for The Two State Laddoo
- Besan – One Cup
- Nachni – One Cup
- Sugar – One Cup
- Green Cardamom (Elaichi) – Three to four pieces
- Almonds (Badaam) – Ten to Fifteen
- Raisins (KishMish) – Ten to Fifteen
- Ghee – Two tablespoons
- Dry grind the sugar to a fine powder and keep aside
- Peel the cardamoms and crush the seeds to a coarse powder. Set aside
- Roughly chop almonds and raisins and set aside
- Add one tablespoon ghee in a kadhai and roast the nacnhi till it attains a deep reddish brown colour. Add a little more ghee if needed. Empty out into a plate
- Add another tablespoon ghee in a clean kadhai and roast the besan till it becomes pinkish in hue
- Mix all the above ingredients while still hot and make small laddoos.
- Let it cool so that the laddoos become firm. In case the ghee in the mixture is more than needed, the laddoos won’t stay firm and will topple down
So that ladies and gentlemen are my two states – Punjab and Maharashtra blend Besan and Nachni Laddoos. Isn’t that name a mouthful? Simpler to call them The Two States Laddoos! What about you guys? Have you come across or made dishes that take culinary influences from different states in India and create a delightful fusion?