This coconut snack/dessert is a healthier version of the traditional coconut ladoo with just 5 simple ingredients and with ground seeds. You will most likely find Coconut laddu/ladoo almost in every Indian home. It is a much-loved sweet that is offered during various festivals both religious and cultural.
In Bengal, we enjoy narkel naru or coconut ladoo in festivals such as Janmashtami, Lakshmi Puja and on Dashami, the 10th or last day of Durga Puja.
In the neighbouring state, Assam, coconut ladoo is a must during one of our harvest festivals Bihu also called Bhogali Bihu or the festival of plenty. We celebrate Bhogali Bihu during January or Magh of the Saka calendar after a rich harvest. This is when the fields are rich with vegetables of all shapes, sizes, and colours. We rejoice and celebrate this season of plenty with fun, frolics and food! I remember having the most fun at my grandparents
Apart from these two states you will find this coconut dessert in some form or the other in many states of India.
Whenever I think of home, I remember these white, fluffy looking ladoos. I love making these when I miss home and need a sweet fix. Of course, I had to make my own version and give it a healthy element by adding ground mixed seeds of flax, sunflower, hemp, golden linseeds and pumpkin seeds. You would need only five ingredients to make this healthy coconut snack.
Nutritional benefits of coconut and seeds
Did you know that coconut flesh contains a high amount of fat in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)? Our body absorbs MCTs directly from the small intestine and rapidly uses them for energy. Amongst other health benefits, a study showed that consuming coconut meat might actually help lose excess fat in our body. Coconut flesh also provides carbs, proteins and minerals such as manganese, copper, iron and selenium.
Studies show that eating coconut improves good cholesterol in our blood, thus reducing the risk factor for heart disease. Coconut flesh provides good fat such as lauric acid which is converted in our body into a compound called monolaurin. Monolaurin is a highly beneficial compound that is antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial that can fight many diseases.
Seeds are extremely nutritious. They are a rich source of fibre and contain mono and polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
A word of caution though, all the above nutritional goodness will only be effective when taken as part of a healthy balanced diet and proper serving size. These coconut balls are so delicious that you may get tempted to go a bit overboard!
Ingredients for coconut balls/ladoos with mixed seeds
Ingredients that you will need to make this delectable healthy coconut balls are
- Grated Coconut: I have used freshly grated coconut for this recipe. The moisture and oil of freshly grated coconut kernel make this recipe a whole lot easier to cook and tastes great. At home, we use traditional coconut graters specially designed to grate coconuts. If you want one, you can buy it off from Amazon or get one from your local South Indian or Srilankan grocery stores. You have to make a bit of an effort with the box grater or a regular grater. If you use a regular grater, scrape off the thin brown layer of seed-coat on the coconut kernel. This will help avoid grating the brown bits while using a grater. We want only the white flesh and not the brown seed-coat!
- Seeds: I have used a mix of hemp, golden linseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and ground them in my magic bullet. You can use a coffee or spice grinder. I do not roast the seeds before grinding as we will roast the powder with the grated coconut.
- Jaggery: I have used jaggery instead of sugar, which is unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice or palm sap. Jaggery gives a nice golden hue to the ladoos plus jaggery is said to be a bit more nutrient-rich than refined sugar.
- Cardamom powder: Just as vanilla is to cakes and desserts in the west, we extensively use green cardamom to flavour our Indian desserts and sweets.
- Desiccated coconut: I have used desiccated coconut to coat the ladoos. This is optional and you may skip this step.
Coconut Balls/Ladoos with Mixed Seeds
- Heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan
- Coffee grinder
- 240 g grated coconut
- 60 g ground seeds mix of pumpkin seeds, golden linseed, hemp seeds and sunflower seeds
- 100 g jaggery grated
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 100 g desiccated coconut
- Warm a heavy bottomed, non-stick pan on medium – low flame.
- Tip in the freshly grated coconut and stir it. Keep roasting it for at least 10-15mins on a med-low heat by stirring constantly. We do not want to brown or burn the coconut.
- Now add the ground seed mix and stir well. Continue to dry roast for another 10mins. Roasting will release the natural oils in the coconut and the powdered seeds, and will give out a nice toasty aroma. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
- Next tip in 100g jaggery and mix well. Keep stirring until the jaggery melts and the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan and gets lumpy.
- Take a bit of the mixture between your fingers and press, be careful it will be hot. If the mixture easily form lumps, remove the pan from the heat.
- Let it cool down for few minutes before you roll into ping-pong ball size.
- Next, roll each ball/ladoo in the desiccated coconut to give it a nice coating and texture and keep aside.
- Enjoy these healthy coconut delights with a steaming cup of tea!
- You can store these in airtight containers in a cool, dry place for up to a week
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