Rave Unde | Rava Laddoo

Things you'll need:
  • 1 cup chiroti* rava / fine semolina / fine sooji
  • 1 cup powdered/confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh/frozen grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 8-10 cashews, broken into small bits
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins or more
  • 5-6 strands saffron
  • 3-4 cardamom pods, freshly ground
Prep work:
Keep the cashew bits about half the size of a raisin. I use kitchen scissors or a traditionalIndian nut cracker for this job.
Wash and pat dry golden raisins. If not for the dirt, it makes them softer for the semolina balls to hold them well without dropping out.
mortar and pestle brings out the best freshly ground cardamom. The one I have is of marble and I bank on it for all such small grinding work.
If using frozen coconut, thaw in the microwave for 10-20 secs or let sit on the counter for 30 mins before use.

How it's done:

If milk is not pasteurized, bring it to a boil else heat milk until just steaming either on a stove top or in a microwave. 
Crush the strands of saffron between your finger tips into the milk, cover and let sit to infuse.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed pan or kadai on medium-high heat. Do not let the ghee smoke at any point. When ghee is hot enough or shimmering, add broken cashew bits and fry until just golden brown. Strain and keep aside. To the same hot ghee, add fine semolina and roast on medium heat until fragrant and golden brown. Remove into a large mixing bowl. Even though it might seem like forever, try not to increase the heat higher or owing to its fine grade, rava/sooji will get burnt.
To the same kadai, add freshly grated coconut and roast until fragrant and all the moisture is gone. Remove on to the roasted rava.
Add washed golden raisins, fried cashew bits, ground cardamom, powdered sugar and give a good stir to mix all the dry ingredients well. Spoon some of this dry mix onto the bowl or plate of fried cashews and scoop away any residual ghee. There's no place for wastage in an Indian kitchen!
Now for the main part, divide the dry mix into two sections. Make a small well in one part of the mix and add milk a tbsp at a time mixing fast simultaneously until you can just mold into a ball with your fingers and cupped palm. Too much milk and you'll find it is very easy to mold, but when cooled Rave Unde will turn out to be rock solid and hard to bite as you can imagine.

The right consistency is when it can hold its shape but crumbles on pressure. If you get this right, Rave unde should melt in the mouth and then you'll get to bite on the fried cashews and soft golden raisins.

To make a perfect round ball, first cup in your palm, roll and move with your fingers while applying pressure within the cupped palm until it appears round enough. Arrange all the balls on a plate and let cool.

Store in an airtight container when cooled and consume within 3-4 days.

Don'ts

Do not mix all the milk at one time, just go with one tbsp at a time.
Do not substitute ghee with oil preferably. The sweet nutty flavor of ghee is a must addition to the taste of Rave Unde.
Avoid using granulated sugar as it will not blend with sooji/rava as well as powdered sugar.
Note
If you do not have / have run out of confectioner's sugar, just run regular granulated sugar in a blender until super fine
Cardamom is best when freshly ground. Avoid buying ground cardamom from the store, as it loses its fragrance on the shelf rather quickly.
To skip stove top rava roasting, instead microwave rava/sooji spread on a microwave safe plate for 2-3 mins in 3o sec intervals, stirring in between intervals.
Though people do make it even with Upma rava/sooji which is a thicker grade of rava, I prefer to make it only with fine rava for its melt in the mouth texture.
Desiccated coconut is a good alternative to fresh grated coconut, if not available.
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