This festive season, enjoy low-carb and low-sugar Indian food without sacrificing genuine Indian taste. Those looking for low-carb, low-sugar recipes will find a haven here. Whether it is Diwali, Navratri, Dasara, Sankranthi or Rakhi, this sensational laddu will impress everyone.
Tiny Seed. Big flavor. That’s amaranth.
Originally a staple of the Aztec diet, amaranth soon made its way to Asia where its taste, texture, and nutrition earned it the title of “king seed.” The leaves, flowers, and seeds of all three are edible. When you add amaranth in amounts up to 25% of total flour used in gluten-free recipes you improve the nutritional value, the taste and texture of gluten-free baked goods. Additionally, amaranth is an exceptional thickener for the roux, white sauces, soups, and stews.
Amaranth or rajgira means “immortal” or “everlasting” in Greek because it contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and it is the only grain which contains Vitamin C. Rajgira also has far more lysine, an essential amino acid, which the body does not manufacture, compared to other grains. Lysine is needed to metabolize fatty acids, absorb calcium, and is essential for strong, thick hair.
Amaranth is a less popular cousin of quinoa—another previously obscure, gluten-free super-grain favored by the ancient Incas. These crops have similar nutritional profiles, but amaranth is less likely to be found in your grocery store. Amaranth is high in protein and important minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. But its most desirable nutritional feature is amino acids. Amaranth nearly matches the optimal amino acid ratios set by the World Health Organization.
Amaranth is slightly lower in carbohydrate content compared to other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth has 129 grams of carbohydrates, white rice 148 grams, brown rice and sorghum 143 grams of carbohydrates. Oats contain 103 grams of carbohydrates, making them the lowest carb gluten-free grain. Amaranth is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (as are most whole grains) and it contains vitamin E in similar amounts to olive oil.
- ½ cup - rajgira seeds (amaranth seeds)
- 1 cup - freshly ground coconut
- 1-2 tsp honey
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp - brown sugar OR ¾th cup grated jaggery
- ¼th tsp - fresh ground cardamom
- 3-4 tbsp - fresh ghee
- 2 tsp - cashews and almonds.
- Roast rajgira seeds and coconut separately on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Fry cashews in a little ghee till golden brown. Let them cool. If you want to make nut free, skip cashews.
- In mixing bowl, first combine roasted rajgira seeds, coconut, cardamom, and 1 tsp honey.
- Mix well till honey is well mixed and you should feel sticky. If you don't feel sticky, add more honey.
- Now add brown sugar. Mix well. Slowly add room temperature melted ghee and mix well. Make sure ghee is not hot. If it is hot, brown sugar melts. After mixing well, you should feel mixture sticky and you should be able to form balls.
- Add enough ghee till you can form a ball with your hand. If a firm ball is not formed add more ghee or honey and mix well.
- Add fried cashews to above mixture after cooled down.
- For any reason, if you think you added a lot of ghee and honey and still can't form laddus, take ice cold milk. Add only 2-3 drops at a time, take that portion, and try forming laddus. Cold milk solidifies ghee and you should be able to form. Remember adding milk will reduce shelf life.
- Compared to white sugar, stickiness in brown sugar or jaggery helps in forming laddus with less ghee.
- Eat while fresh. They stay fresh for 3-4 weeks if stored in a cool place.
- Refrigerate if you are storing for many days.