Dink is the Maharashtrian name for Gond (Hindi) or Gum Arabic. Gond ke laddu made along with nuts, dried fruits and some millet flours or rice flour is very common in Indian homes. Every season used to have a different type of gond ka laddu I remember.
My mother still makes these laddus almost every 2-3 weeks and eats at least one everyday. Her gond ka laddu ingredients keep changing with seasons and now she adds very little sugar and makes a sugar free version for my father too. In my grandmother's time this laddu used to be a minor ceremony in the house.
In summers it used to be a plain gond ka laddu with just some nuts and a mix of flours, in winters some dry ginger (sonth and some turmeric powder would be added and if there is a new mother in the house then gond ka laddu would become a major ceremony.
During pregnancy and just after delivery the new mothers would be fed with a special gond ka laddu with many herbs added to them, the laddu will be called Sothoura as sonth is dry ginger and this sothoura had strong notes of ginger and fenugreek in it. This special sothoura laddu is meant to heal the body of new mother and help in lactation too.
The whole family and friends would long for the special sothoura made for the new mother. These rituals might get lost in coming times as now new mothers have to rely on multivitamins and antibiotics more and more. Earlier no one took any supplements and real food was the source of all nourishment, the way body recognized it best.
I was pleasantly surprised when a very dear friend Suranga Date gifted me a box of dink wadi when we met. Dink wadi is a regional form of gond ka laddu or dink laddu made in Maharashtra. The good things were valued all over the country in different forms. This version of Gond ka laddu tasted really nice and I asked the recipe from Suranga and she happily obliged.
I am reproducing Suranga recipe as she sent me, in her own words.
(The traditional stuff is actually the Dinkacha Laadoo, or Dink(Gond) Laddu in Hindi. Normally made in winters for everyone and for post partum stage mothers at any time. Like everything else, eating styles have changed , but nutritional values remain, and so this is a version adapted for those needing a decent energy boost away from maida, butter, white sugar and similar folks that my late father would call the 3 poisons :-) )
2 fistfuls of desiccated coconut. (You can use freshly grated, roasted dry variety too.)
2 tspoons cardamom powder
About 600 gms jaggery ; I used the organic suplphurless variety .
Oil to fry the dink (you can use ghee)
1. heat oil , and on a moderate flame, fry the dink. It is a very quick process, as the dink will immediately bloom , and you must immediately remove it from oil and deposit it on a paper so the oil can drain. I fry small quantities of dink at a time, so i don't have lots of left over oil . (Traditional types use ghee)
2. Spread out the dink , let the oil drain, and then take a nice clean muslin cloth, spread it over the dink, and roll the rolling pin pin all over to crush the stuff . Actually crushing by hands is even better but messy. The muslin cloth will also pick up some extra oil sticking to the dink.
3. Powder the dry dates, walnuts and almonds , separately in the mixer. dry datess will be a bit coarsely ground.
4. Mix the crushed dink, the dry fruits and the desiccated coconut. Add cardamom powder. (I've added doodh ka masala instead , at times, with excellent results)
5. On a low flame, in a thick bottomed kadhai, melt the jaggery. In the meanwhile grease two rectangular barfi type pans (eg 10" x 5" ) and keep ready.
6. When the jaggery kind of starts to bubble , boil, and rise (like milk) , shut off the heat, add the dink mixture , nicely mix and bring it all together.
7. This will not be of pouring consistency, but spooning consistency. Spoon out the stuff onto the greased pans, and use a plastic sheet and rolling pin to smoothen the surface
8. Cut the surface into required size pieces, and let it cool. Experts and artistic types might enjoy adding a cashew piece or badaam slivers to the surface .
9. When completely cool, cut the wadis.
P. S. This is ideal stuff for a quick breakfast with a glass of milk; or for children home from school who need to rush out to play . I also know someone who would eat this in their daily Mumbai train commute to work .
The traditional recipe uses khus khus (poppy seed) powder, grated roasted dry coconut, and khareek powder. This is a shortcut recipe.
Thank you so much Suranga for all the love you bestow. I feel blessed.