Ladoos are the Indian equivalent to cakes and cookies. I love motichoor ladoos, but I’m yet to master the skill of making those delicious balls. Usually, Ladoos are prepared on a special occasion or festivals. These sweet balls have flour as the base and ghee for binding. This is not my first time to make besan ladoos. I’ve had my share of goof ups while preparing these ladoos. Over a period of time, I learned the knack of preparing this simple, yet yummy sweet balls. This time I added almonds instead of besan alone. At the end of the recipe, I’ve given troubleshooting tips to rescue ladoo disasters. After a couple of times, you’ll master the skill. It takes sometimes to familiarize with besan. I caution you beforehand – these ladoos are addictive ! You may not stop with one.
Makes 15 ladoos
1 cup Besan (Gram flour)
1/2 Almonds, coarsely powdered
1 cup Sugar, powdered
3/4 cup Ghee
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom, powdered
1/4 teaspoon Saffron food coloring *Optional
Keep the ingredients ready for preparation. I used laddu besan that is coarser. Regular besan has a fine texture. It’s ok to use both. I prefer textured ladoos, than soft ones.
Mix the powdered sugar and food color. Keep aside.
Dry roast the besan in a wide pan, breaking lumps if any. You get pre-roasted besan, but I prefer roasting the besan to get rid of the raw taste and smell. This does make a difference to the ladoos. Take care not to burn the besan while roasting. Set aside.
Melt ghee in the same pan. Heavy bottom pan works well as the success of this recipe depends on continuous stirring without burning the mixture at any point.
Once the ghee melts, add the roasted besan. This can be tricky, as the besan initially thickens in consistency. This step is the longest and takes about 15-20 minutes for both these ingredients to bind together. Stir continuously. Besan changes to golden brown in color and gives out a sweet aroma.
Add coarsely ground almonds and keep stirring for another 5 minutes or till completely combined.
Add powdered sugar and mix well. Once the sugar is added, the mixture tends to loosen a bit. Excess heat melts the sugar and may start bubbling. Hence, keep the heat low or you may even remove the pan from heat right after adding the sugar. Stir well to form an evenly brown mixture.
Once all the ingredients are mixed, you’ll notice the consistency changes. The mixture becomes manageable. At this point, add the powdered cardamom or a few drops of cardamom extract to the mixture. Your kitchen should waft with the sweet and nutty aroma.
Transfer the mixture to a plate. As the mixture cools, it thickens. Do not cool it completely, it will be hard to shape the ladoos and it will fall apart. It should be warm to touch with bare hands.
Grease your palm with little ghee and shape the mixture into small ping pong sized balls. Even if you have a dry mixture, the ghee from your palm will help hold the ladoos in shape. Size of the ladoo is as per preference.
Store ladoos in an air tight container for 2 weeks. These ladoos doesn’t last that long in my household…this time ladoos vanished the next day.
- You need some patience and constant stirring to prepare these ladoos. When the almond is added to the besan-ghee, the mixture may become thick. You may be tempted to add more ghee. Adding more ghee may seem to give a manageable mixture. But, after shaping and cooling the balls, it may flatten and make one big lump. You may realize it only after a few hours of storing these round balls.
- Weather conditions play a role in making perfect round ladoos. If your place is humid and hot, reduce the amount of ghee by 2 tablespoons. The shaped ladoos may melt and lose shape due to atmospheric heat. In that case, store the ladoos in a cool place. For this recipe, I’ve used 1 cup besan + 1/2 cup ground almond, hence it is 3/4 cup ghee. That’s 2:1 ratio.
- An easy way to powder cardamom is to add 3-4 whole cardamoms to the sugar. This way, you get freshly powdered cardamom flavored sugar. I grind a bit more sugar with cardamom and use it for preparing ‘Chai’.
- Accidentally, if you add more ghee and end up having a gooey mixture. Don’t panic. Grease a square pan and pour the mixture into the pan. Stick it into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. This will harden the mixture. Run a knife to cut squares, there you have badam besan burfis.
- Do not increase the heat, as this will burn the besan and caramalize the sugar. You’ll end up having bitter tasting ladoos. That’s the reason I use powdered sugar, as I don’t depend on the stove heat to melt the sugar. Powdered sugar melts easily, than granulated sugar.
- For flaky, dry mixture try adding 2 tablespoons of warm milk to loosen up. Stir in one tablespoon at a time and add more only if needed. Mix well and form the ladoos with greased palm.
These tips should help rescue if you go wrong with the preparation. Make ladoos with different ingredients and proportions. You’ll come up with some really delicious sweet balls. Enjoy the ladoos!