Laddu is a must-try Indian sweet! While there are many versions, I love besan laddu (the chickpea flour gluten-free variety) flavored with honey, orange, cardamom, and a touch of nutmeg.
The laddus have a Mexican wedding cookie-like texture. They are hard on the outside, but they crumble in your mouth as if you were eating a ball of refrigerated cookie dough.
How to Make Besan Laddu
Laddu is made entirely on the stove-top.
Begin by roasting besan flour in ghee. Besan is a special type of chickpea flour. As explained by Vegan Richa, “Indian Besan (Gram flour) is the flour of brown chickpeas or chana dal (split brown chickpeas), or sometimes a mix of split chickpeas and split peas. It is a flour of a type [of chickpea], so it can be labeled as chickpea flour.” You can find besan flour at Indian grocers or you can buy it online [paid link].
As you roast the flour, you’ll note that it becomes smoother and turns to a more golden hue. Always roast on low heat and stir often to keep it from burning.
Add the spices during the last five minutes of roasting to lightly toast them.
Then, stir in the honey, orange zest, and powdered milk.
When it’s cool enough to touch, roll the laddu batter into balls. Fun fact: laddu literally means small ball in Sanskrit.
The laddus last for a couple of weeks at room temperature.
What to Do With Leftover Ingredients
The Hidden Veggies blog has so many great ideas for ways to use chickpea flour. They range from cookies to breads and even French fries!
You can use leftover ghee as you would butter in all of your cooking. But, if you are looking for a specific new recipe to try, consider carrot halwa; it’s like an Indian carrot pudding.
- 4 ounces ghee about 1/2 cup
- 2 cups besan flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- finely grated zest of one large orange
- 1 tablespoon powdered milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- Melt ghee in a small saucepan on low heat.
- Add the besan flour and mix well to make sure there are no lumps.
- Roast until the flour looks smooth and more liquidy, mixing regularly to prevent burning - about 15 minutes.
- Mix in the cardamom and nutmeg.
- Roast for another three minutes until the color looks more golden.
- Remove from the stove and mix in the orange zest, powdered milk, and honey.
- As soon as it is cool enough for you to touch, roll the batter into small balls.
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