For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Veena's blog: Veg Nation: An Ode to Vegetarian Food. Veena lives in India, and I had big plans to make one of her authentic Indian recipes. I've been teaching my boys a lot about other cultures, and this month we happened to be studying India. The boys and I were going to take a trip to our local (authentic) Indian grocery store and learn as much about their food as possible.
I had it all worked out in my mind: it was going to be perfect!
But I foolishly procrastinated. And then today, the day I planned to go to the Indian grocery (3 days before the reveal date), Timothy got a stomach virus, and I was hit with the realization that if I were to also get sick, there's no way I could make the Secret Recipe Club deadline.
So I had to scrap the authentic Indian cooking dream and go with something more familiar to me: chocolate.
And Veena's Chocolate Coconut Ladoo are delicious. (Ladoo (also written as Laduu) refers to an Indian sweet treat that is rolled into bite-sized balls.)
Due to some dietary changes that we've had to make around here, I swapped out the sweetened condensed milk that Veena used with a homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk. Also, Veena used 2 tablespoons of drinking chocolate...I used 3 tablespoons of straight cocoa to avoid the dairy that was lurking amongst every version of powdered "drinking chocolate" I had in my pantry.
I am not much of a microwave user, but I followed Veena's microwave instructions to the letter and was grateful for them. The microwave saved me a lot of preparation time as I spent most of my morning running back and forth from the kitchen to Timothy's sickbed.
Thanks, Veena! As soon as possible, my children and I will be back to your blog to study Indian culture and food!
Makes 16 tablespoon-sized balls
1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut + additional 1/4 - 1/2 cup for rolling
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the condensed coconut milk and the water. Cover with a paper towel (it may splatter while it's cooking) and microwave the mixture for 2 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl from microwave.
Whisk the cocoa powder into the milk/water mixture. Once the mixture is smooth, add in the shredded coconut. Stir well and microwave for about 2.5 minutes, stopping to mix every 30-45 seconds. The mixture will be thick.
Carefully remove bowl from microwave and allow mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes. When cool enough to touch, scoop out tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands.
Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded coconut in a shallow bowl.
Roll the chocolate-coconut balls into the shredded coconut to coat.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Store uneaten treats in the refrigerator.
Recipe slightly adapted from: Veg Nation