Sunday, October 14, 2012

Indian Dumplings - Silent Sunday Of Sorts, A Work In Progress

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. 
Traditional laru
The laru (ladu) saga, to be continued.....

39 comments :

  1. I think you managed the folding to perfection too! Looking forward to the recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you An. Means a lot coming from a native! :)

      Delete
  2. Gorgeous, can't wait to see the entire recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TY Laura. The entire completion process is dragging but I hope sooner than later.:)

      Delete
  3. Six kids...that's great! I wish I had that many siblings. :-)
    I've never had Laru, but it sounds so so good! Can't wait to see the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larger family, mega drama! :) & TY Kate, I hope to post soon!

      Delete
  4. Wow is your work beautiful! The filling sounds exquisite and so delicious and the dumplings, both versions, are like little works of art. Do you give lessons? And how wonderful that these go back 4 generations. Recipes like this fascinate me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thx Jamie! It is definitely artisan in the true sense. My mom would fold it so quickly. I am making another batch soon, now that I demystified it! :)

      Delete
  5. I've never eaten these and I'm intrigued.
    They look GREAT to me and very unique

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very delicate indeed. I could not have had a better choice of word. TY Winnie.

      Delete
  6. your wrapped it so well. I have never heard about this dessert, has all my fav ingredients, i am sure it tastes really good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TY Dixya, folding was a challenge! :) Too good we ate it all up. Now I got to exercise! :)

      Delete
  7. the folding is beautiful ! i love modaks (last image) filled with jaggery & coconut, usually made for ganesh chaturthi. it's hard not to finish these in one day ;-) so tempting :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TY so much Shruti. Yes indeed the laru/ladu/modak is traditionally made for ganesh chaturthi. My mom was telling me about the tossing in the sea it must be quite a sight! :) I happened to make these at the beginning of the holiday though we do not celebrate it. We also adapted it for other ceremonial purposes from our Hindu neighbors and carried it on living in Israel.:) I now don't feel bad having the batch for b-fast lunch & dinner! :)

      Delete
  8. Shulie, how intense! I love a post with a family story.. I have so many memories of my sisters and I in the kitchen with my mom, grandmother and aunts. These dumplings are beautiful.. but what intrigues me the most is the dough cooked on the stove. Can't wait to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such beautiful works of art and such beautiful words to go along with it. Your blog is always such a joy to read. Brings me to a very happy and thankful place.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gorgoeus! You did an amazing job shaping it. So perfect Shulie.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow they look good! And the coconut filling sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You did a great job! These remind me of Chinese dumplings. It takes practice but they have similar folds.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Shulie, these are just beautiful. But I can honestly tell you that I definitely do not have the patience to fold these guys. Years ago this recipe would not have appealed to my tastebuds, but today? I'm more than eager to try!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ahahaha Kim, first TY & second you completely cracked me up with your pure honesty! LOVE it! :)

      Delete
  14. These are beautiful - I cannot wait until you post the recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my gosh, these are just beautiful Shulie! Stunningly. Your photos are glorious and your folding technique is perfect. Your mom and grandmother and great grandmother would be proud :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. How do you make them seriously that perfect, I mean picture perfect! I love learning about laru, and look forward to your future posts:-) Hugs, Terra

    ReplyDelete
  17. They must be great with sweet coconut filling.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's great that you are keeping the tradition alive making the laru, a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. I don't think that I would have the patience to make these. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fascinating recipe. I adore dumplings and both versions look so good. That filling makes my head spin. How lucky your siblings get to enjoy your mamma's cooking. It seems to me you're definitely carrying on her delicious traditions here at your home, Shulie. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. These look beautiful and you are near the perfection you wish to achieve...which is way above what we could do. Family recipes and food memories are precious.

    ReplyDelete
  21. These are the most beautiful and delicious "purses" I've ever seen!

    ReplyDelete
  22. these look great looks like work to me will swap you for the soup

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awee..I like the recipes of grandmothers, each one is created with so much of love and care for their families..and glad that you re following them. Beautiful clicks, S..we make modaks here in the similar manner.

    ReplyDelete
  24. These handed down recipes are the very best kind, there's such history with them.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love recipes from parents, grand parents etc. they are special with the memories they are attached to. Love these - they look perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for sharing the adventures of the Laru! What an interesting technique. I can't imagine having the patience or skill to do that. However, I could sure imagine the taste! Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  27. They look magnificent! A wonderful speciality.

    cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am visiting your blog afar a long time as for some strange reason i could not visit any 'blogspot' blogs all these days! I am glad I can visit some of my favorite blogs again :)
    So good to be back here. Lovely post with beautiful photos... We make something similar called 'kadubu' but it's filled with coconut and japery. Also very delicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh my! I love anything that has coconut and this is definitely something I want to try.

    ReplyDelete
  30. thanks for sharing..

    ReplyDelete
  31. Just beautiful Shulie, I love the story behind it too! And your mums modak maker...priceless! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete