This Laru (ladu), an Indian dumpling filled with sweetened coconut and blanched, peeled and slivered raw pistachios and almonds, has been an undertaking and a work in progress. I have a cultural story that goes along with it that I've been in labor pains over, but it will be born when it is well seasoned and ready.
|Sweetened coconut, almond and pistachio filling|
Regardless of the multiple times of speaking to my mom, only practice makes perfect. The cooked on the stove dough needs quick and efficient working. It is key to making the dough, so it is cooked, incorporated and lump free through and through.
I wished in this pictorial post to let you have a glimpse into a day in my kitchen tackling this artisanal recipe passed on to my mom from her mother and her grandmother and generations before. I feel truly humbled that I am now continuing and carrying the tradition on. Last time I made laru was in an assembly line my mom was conducting in my late teens and early twenties. Out of six kids, with four sisters, I am the only sibling cooking Indian food in adulthood. My brothers and sisters have the luxury of having my mom to go to.
|My mom's steamer from Mumbai I brought to the US|
I got the filling and the dough spot on, but the folding was a challenge. The first half batch produced not so pretty dumplings, but the flavor and consistency of the dumplings were perfection. Identical to my memories growing up. Addictive! Jonathan and I couldn't stop noshing on them.
There are many intricacies to the folding technique. Problem was the thickness of the dough when you roll it out, you want it as thin as possible but thick enough so it won't tear. The technique is key. The trick is very intricate folding in between the middle and index fingers and pulling to seal just from the very top, while all along not bruising the dough or tearing it in the worst case scenario. Also making sure the filling does not touch the seams otherwise sealing is a challenge.
|Non-traditional folding of laru|
The technique of sealing dawned on me as I practiced. Pulling the dough up from the very top after folding and then sealing. It creates these delicate draping of the folds. I lost steam at some point, constantly stopping and photographing so I can't show you the ones that were not even slightly marred from the outside but the ones featured here are a pretty close second runner ups.
The laru (ladu) saga, to be continued.....