I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the house smelled whenever badi mummy (my grandma) used to make besan ladoo. If you have ever toasted besan (chickpea flour), you know what I mean. As kids, we used to sneak in a couple of them with cold milk before leaving for school. This is one of those dishes that takes me back in time to those years.
These spherical sweet are made with chickpea flour (besan), usually in celebration of a holiday like Diwali.
- ¾ cup ghee
- 2 cups coarse chickpea flour (see Note)
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 5-6 cardamom pods
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ⅓ cup turbinado or raw sugar (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 15 minutes
Using your fingers, combine the ghee and chickpea flour in a bowl, ensuring there are no lumps. Transfer the mixture to a heavy-bottomed kadhai or wide frypan. Cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes or until the kadhai has warmed up. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continuously – slow-cooking is extremely important to ensure that the raw taste of the chickpea flour is cooked off. The chickpea flour will slowly start changing colour and you will smell a nice aroma. After about 30-35 minutes, you will also see the ghee starting to separate on the sides. Take off the stove, mix in the raisins and set aside to cool.
While the mixture is cooling, crack open the cardamom pods and, using a mortar and pestle, crush the seeds to a fine powder.
Once the toasted chickpea flour mixture is cool enough to handle (but not cold), add the sugars and cardamom powder. Combine well, then shape into even balls. Moisten your palms with a little melted ghee while making balls, if required. If you have difficulty shaping them, refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes to firm slightly. They will not fall apart once shaped into balls.
Besan ladoo will keep for up to two weeks at room temperature.
• Coarse chickpea flour (ladoo besan/mota besan) is available from Indian and Pakistani food stores. If you can’t find coarse chickpea flour, add 2-3 tbsp fine semolina while roasting for the same texture (they will no longer be gluten-free).
• Turbinado sugar is available from selected health food stores and specialty food stores.
Recipe from Sinfully Spicy by Tanvi Srivastava, with photographs by Tanvi Srivastava.