Besan ke Ladoo and Diwali go hand in hand. Sweet, nutty, and delicious. These are the perfect holiday treat.
Diwali is the best time of year in India, bar none! The world just seems like a better and happier place. Part of that is because of the amazing desserts like besan ke ladoo, kheer, shakarpare, patisa, halwa, dhoda, gajrela, and the list goes on an on. Indian desserts aren’t always the fastest the make, but they are delicious and store well.
Ladoo are one of the best desserts there are. They come in a wide variety of flavors and ingredients, and it seems that every person or state has their local variation to them. This recipe is an authentic Punjabi recipe. So you’ll notice the ladoo isn’t as bright yellow or smooth as some of the other variations. It’s because we cook in the sugar and nuts, giving it a heartier texture.
I want to say that this recipe is easy, because it really is. However, if it’s your first time making ladoo, you may not believe that. Simply because it’s one of those recipes your grandmother would describe as, you just know it’s done when it’s done. Which, of course only makes sense when you’ve made it a couple times. Before then, your instinct tells you it’s done every 10 seconds. So keep the faith and keep to the recipe.
It reminds me of the time I was in Punjab and someone gave me directions to their home. The directions went as so, “When you get to the light, go straight. After 3 km continue going straight. Then turn 1/2 km before the tractor.” Logically you’d have said – “Go __ km after the light and turn left.”, “Turn on ___ road.”, or anything remotely more reasonable than turn 1/2 km before the tractor. I mean what if the tractor wasn’t there that day? Which of course was the case, and led to a massive community “scare” of where had the man and his tractor gone. The tractor was in the shop, he forgot, and I was now stuck at some random person’s home being overfed and introduced to their myopic son, whom I was assured would make a wonderful husband. Moral of the story, put a colored stick in the uncle’s road so that you never had to run into the myopic boy down the way.
Some helpful hints for this recipe. As anxious as you are to turn up the heat, don’t. Besan burns incredibly quickly. The slow roast also gives it a deep rich, aromatic, and nutty flavor. I suggest finding yourself a comfortable seat when rolling the ladoo, because it’ll take a while. Don’t be afraid to press the ladoo into shape with force – you want them to stick. Do not stack them until they’re completely cooled. And lastly, these will easily last 6 weeks when stored in an airtight container, so don’t shy away from making a big batch.
Besan ke LadooCourse: DessertCuisine: Punjabi, Indian, PakistaniDifficulty: Easy
7 cups ladoo besan
1 1/4 lbs butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cardamom, ground
3/4 cup sliced almonds
Sliced almonds, for garnish
Pistachios, for garnish
- In a large pot, place the besan over medium-low heat.
- Dry roast the besan until it’s a golden brown. Make sure to consistently stir so it doesn’t burn. Approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the butter and mix it thoroughly.
- Continue cooking the besan on low heat for 20 minutes. Stirring consistently. You’ll notice the mixture get clumpy, then smooth and somewhat fluid, back to dry.
- Thoroughly mix in sugar and cardamom.
- Continue to cook for 30 minutes on low heat, stirring consistently to avoid burning or uneven cooking.
- Mix in almonds.
- Continue cooking the mixture for approximately 1 hr. Or until the mix is a deep brown color, nutty in smell, and the consistency of wet sand. I think the best test is to take a tsp of the mixture out, let it cool, and taste it. It should taste roasted and nutty. The starchy chalky bitterness of the gram flour should be gone.
- Place the mix into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
- Once the mixture is cool enough to handle start to shape the ladoos. You want to apply enough pressure to help the shape hold. Work the ladoo until it’s firm and round. Set completed ladoos on a tray to cool in single rows, do not stack.
- If your mixture is too gritty add does not stick together add a small amount of butter. If your mix is too wet and does not hold shape, return it to the pot and cook a little bit longer.
- Decorate the top of each ball with almonds and pistachios.
- Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.
- Stir consistently to avoid burning or uneven darkening.
- If you ladoo mix gets too cold reheat it on the stove on low heat.