Thirteen years ago I was introduced to the magical world of spices and I've been using them in my cooking ever since, not only in Indian dishes, but also in Romanian ones to add extra flavour. It's funny how, in spite of my weakness for desserts, I've only tried a few types of Indian sweets, like gulab jamun, ras malai, gajar ka halwa, sooji ka halwa and burfi. I've watched dozens of Hindi movies and craved the famous laddoos every time I saw them shown at weddings or festivals, I've also read a lot of recipes, but somehow I always got discouraged to make them due to their high sugar content.
It wasn't until last summer when I got to taste my friend's homemade laddoos that I decided I had to make some myself. I didn't manage to get her recipe, but then there's always aunty Manjula to help. I love her! She's an amazing lady with a great passion for cooking and sharing recipes, who has an impressive collection of videos on youtube. Hundreds of thousands of hits on most of them, that's something!
To start the "Indian" category on my blog I wanted something new, since all my Indian recipes are curries, breads and rice. No better time than a sunny Sunday afternoon to make her delicious besan sooji laddoos. I'd made her besan dosa recipe before and I must say I was a bit worried today that the strong vegetable taste of the gram flour wouldn't go away through roasting. I was in for a surprise:) This recipe won me over because it has almonds and pistachios - if it's crunchy, I'm in:) I'll be sharing more of Manjula's recipes and I invite you to visit her website (she also holds monthly contests) or youtube channel whenever you crave Indian food. You won't regret it.
Note: These laddoos contain sooji (semolina) which gives them a powdery texture. That's also due to the fact that sugar is added when the mixture is just warm so it doesn't dissolve completely. Next time I'll drop the semolina and add sugar while it's still hot, let's see what comes out:)
What you need...
- 1 1/2 cups besan (gram/chickpea flour) - sifted
- 4 Tb fine sooji (semolina)
- 1/2 cup melted butter (vegan)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar (or use unrefined caster sugar for a lighter colour) - sifted
- 4 Tb finely sliced almonds
- 1 tsp ground cardamom (or crush a few seeds)
- 1 Tb melted butter
- 1 Tb finely chopped or ground pistachios
- In a large pan over medium heat add gram flour, semolina and butter and combine well with a spatula. Continue stirring for about 10 minutes until the strong smell of the chickpea flour disappears. This step will prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan and burning.
- When the mixture turns slightly brown and the butter starts to separate, it's ready. Remove from heat into a glass bowl and let cool down till warm.
- Add sugar, almonds and cardamom and mix well by hand.
- Form small/medium balls and press them firmly in your palm to prevent them from breaking (I made about 20).
- After making all the laddoos, dip them slightly in the remaining butter and pistachios and place them on a serving plate. Let cool completely and serve.
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