Ayurvedic Corner * Holiday Pumpkin Laddus *

I can hardly believe that it’s that time of year again. It’s November and the holidays are just around the corner! For this month’s article, I share a recipe that’s easy to add to the Thanksgiving menu, or any of the season’s potlucks or holiday parties for that matter. Though most people become familiar with laddus from eating at Indian food restaurants, these delicious sweet balls made of a variety of ingredients and flours, are actually prevalent in many South Asian countries. As you know, I love a recipe with a lot of room for creativity and laddus is one of those deserts you can make your own.

For my version, I use white sesame seed as the base because of its powerful medicinal properties. Sesame seeds are rich in protein and essential fatty acids. They contain the amino acids lysine, trytophan, and methionine. They also contain the minerals copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and thiamine (Vitamin B1). According to Dr. Ladd, sesame seeds contain sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, with a heating and pungent virya and vipaka. They are oily, heavy, and smooth and increase Pitta and Kapha, while decreasing Vata dosha. Let me also add that the black variation of sesame seeds are used widely in traditional Chinese medicine. He Zhi Ma or black sesame seed is sweet and neutral in temperature. It nourishes Jing and blood, and extinguishes wind. It also moistens the intestines and lungs. (Just to name a few of its medicinal properties according to traditional Chinese medicine.) Both of these seeds carry a medicinal punch that you just might need during this holiday season.

Overall, these laddus are light, sweet, and a little spicy. I had your agni or digestive fire in mind when I thought of the spices to add to the base ingredients. Spices such as cardamom, dry ginger powder, and a pinch of black pepper are meant to offset the potential heaviness of the pumpkin

Laddus with a little spice!
and sesame. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Laddus
2 Tbspn Ghee
3 Cups White Sesame Seeds
2 Tbspn Pumpkin Puree (Canned or roasted from a pie pumpkin)
1 Tbspn Ginger powder
1 tspn Turmeric
1 tspn Cinnamon
¼ tspn Nutmeg
¼ tspn Black pepper
¼ Salt
Maple Syrup as needed
Whole pecan to garnish

First, prepare the pumpkin puree. If using canned pumpkin, set the stove to medium heat and pour can into pot to warm. Meanwhile, roast the sesame seeds on the stove or oven and grind to make a powder. Mix ghee and spices, again on a medium heat stove top until well integrated. Mix pumpkin, sesame seeds, and spices together into a bowl. Add maple syrup to make a sticky consistency. Roll into 1 to 1 ½ inch balls and refrigerate for 20 minutes until hard. Serve with a piece of pecan on top.

Melissa Camacho, guest writer, is a licensed acupuncturist and Ayurvedic practitioner in Sedona. To contact her, please click here

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