With our Besan Ladoo recipe, you can enjoy these easy-to-make nutty and sweet Indian treats at home. They are a perfect gluten free addition to a cookie platter!
What are Ladoo?
Ladoo (or laddu) are small, round Indian sweets that are made of ghee (clarified butter), flour, and sugar. These sweets are very common to find served at Indian celebrations and festivals.
There are SO many types of ladoo. The different types use different flours as their base or different sugars as their sweetener. Some include nuts, some include spices or other seasonings, and others even include dried fruits.
How to make Besan Ladoo
To make besan ladoo (pronounced BAE-sen la-DOO), besan, or chickpea flour, is cooked in ghee until it is very fragrant and darker in color. Then, powdered sugar and any seasonings or add-ins (like golden raisins) are mixed into the flour.
At this stage, the dough will look very crumbly, and might not seem like it is going to come together into smooth round balls. But, don’t worry. Once it cools slightly, simply scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into your hand and begin pressing it firmly to get it into a ball shape. If it still seems too crumbly, dip one side of the dough into a little ghee and continue shaping. Typically, just a little extra ghee is all you need to achieve a smooth round ball.
How to make ghee (clarified browned butter)
Clarified butter is butter that does not contain any milk solids. And ghee is a form of clarified butter made from browned butter.
Removing the milk solids gives the butter a more mild flavor, makes is last longer, and gives it a higher smoke point. For ghee, the process to make clarified butter is followed, however the milkfat is left to toast slightly, giving the ghee a golden color and nutty flavor after the milkfat has been removed.
Ghee is commonly used in many Indian recipes, so it’s good that its quite easy to make at home.
To make clarified butter, simply melt some butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat. You will notice that there is a white foam on top. That white foam is all of your milk solids.
Use a spoon to scoop these milk solids from the top of the butter, and you will be left with pure, clear butter. (Keep in mind that you will lose 1/4 – 1/3 of your butter to the discarded milk solids. So, when clarifing butter for a recipe, be sure to start with more unclarified butter than the amount of clarified butter you will need.)
To make ghee, you follow the same steps above to make clarified butter, but you wait to remove the pan from the heat until the butter and milkfat starts to brown and turn a golden color. Then, you can remove the pan from the heat and skim the (now golden) foam.
Clarified butter and ghee will keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator, just like regular butter. And, you can use the milk solids that you removed to flavor pasta, rice, or popcorn.
Our Besan Ladoo recipe
We loved making these besan ladoo because they were so easy, and they were the perfect way to use up some of the chickpea flour that we had laying around from making French socca flatbread and Burmese chickpea tofu.
The ladoo have a sweet, nutty flavor that makes them highly addicting. We think they’d be the perfect addition to a cookie platter to bring to a party. (Particularly if there are gluten free guests!) And, while they’re a great gluten free treat, we’d recommend making more than you think you need, because odds are everyone will be gobbling them up!
Besan Ladoo (Indian Chickpea Candy)
- ½ c ghee (clarified browned butter), melted*
- 2 c chickpea flour
- 1 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped almonds or cashews (for garnish, optional)
- In a large skillet, heat the ghee over medium heat until melted.
- Add the chickpea flour and cook over medium heat until the flour becomes very fragrant and begins to darken in color, 7-10 min, stirring often.
- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the powdered sugar and cardamom.
- Let the mixture cool slightly before shaping it into balls. Scoop 1 Tbsp of the mixture into your hands and press it firmly into a ball. (If the mixture seems too crumbly, dip it in a little ghee and continue pressing and rolling.)
- Garnish the besan ladoo, if desired, by dipping a tiny edge in ghee and then dipping it in finely chopped nuts.
- Store the besan ladoo in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
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