+ the story of why we offer ladoos to Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha is famous for his love of sweets, particularly modaka and ladoo, both varieties of sweet balls. He is often pictured holding a small plate of the balls in one hand.
When I did a lot of Ganesha sadhana years ago, I offered him heaps of jaggary sugar and poha (flattened rice) each morning. Lord Ganesha’s love of sweets does not stop at ladoos!
After a time, I had stored so much offered sugar and poha, it became a problem. Offerings cannot be thrown out. They must be eaten. Luckily, I lived just a few blocks from a large Hare Krishna temple. They were happy to take the prasad as a donation and incorporate it into their free community dinners.
This is a simple ladoo recipe whose deliciousness far exceeds the effort of making it. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the recipe to read the story of why we offer ladoos to Ganesha. Enjoy!
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups unsweetened, finely shredded dry coconut
.5 tsp ground cardamom powder
1/4 cup toasted nut flour (blanched almonds, pistachios, or cashews)
extra shredded coconut for garnish
Lightly toast the nuts in a dry saucepan.
Grind them to a flour-like consistency. You can use store-bought nut flour, but it tends to have very little flavor compared to toasting the nuts and grinding them yourself. You want to end up with a 1/4 cup of nut flour.
Mix together the shredded coconut and condensed milk in a pot.
Heat on low, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the mixture is hot and holds together in a mass.
Remove from heat, and stir in cardamom powder and nuts.
Let the mixture rest until it is just warm.
Take small portions and roll into 1 inch to 1.5 inch balls, depending on your preference.
Roll them immediately in the extra coconut.
Let cool completely on a baking tray before storing
The ladoos can be stored in a closed container in the refrigerator.
More Story! Why do we offer ladoos to Ganesha?
Kubera is the god of material wealth, especially of minerals and jewels. But despite the devahood, he’s not without his karmas. Some Hindu gods are like that.
One time, Kubera built an ostentatious gold palace. He invited Lord Shiva over because he wanted to boast about his extravagant new home.
Lord Shiva decided to do something about the arrogance of Kubera. Instead of going himself, he sent his son Ganesha whose stomach is as large as the cosmos.
Kubera tried to take Ganesha on a tour of the palace, but Ganesha insisted on eating. Kubera, not missing a beat, bragged that he had enough food to feed many thousands of guests.
In an instant, Ganesha ate all of the food in Kubera’s kitchen, storehouses, and fields. Then he started gobbling up gold: gold kitchen utensils, gold ornaments, gold statues, and whatever other gold he could find.
Kubera feared that soon, Ganesha would eat the palace itself! In a panic, he begged Lord Shiva to control the bottomless appetite of his rampaging scion.
Shakti, playing the role of Shiva’s wife, the Goddess Parvati, prepared a single, super ladoo. Shiva gave the ladoo to Kubera as a gift for Lord Ganesha.
When Lord Ganesha ate the ladoo blessed by Ma Shakti, the God became completely full and content.
This story illustrates that Lord Ganesha sometimes causes trouble, but really he is helping us by ‘digesting’ our karmas in his big belly.
The story also demonstrates that only real wealth—the primordial sweet taste given to us as a gift from God—can truly satisfy.
And so we offer ladoos to Lord Ganesha and receive them back as prasad so that we too can taste the sweetness of the divine and be content.
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