These simple 4-ingredient ladoos are a perfect introduction to the amazing world of Indian dessert. They are so creamy and delicious, I couldn’t stop eating them even before they cooled down. Did I mention it’s a one-pot recipe?!
ACTIVE TIME: 45 min
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
SERVINGS: 12 ladoos
CALORIES: 99 calories per ladoo
COST: CAD $0.11 per ladoo
FRIDGE: No need to refrigerate; they keep well at room temperature for up to five days
FREEZER: I haven’t tried freezing them yet
- 60 g butter or ghee (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 heaping cup besan aka chickpea flour
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder (or 5 whole cardamom pods, blended into powder in a high-speed blender)
- 1 cup powdered sugar (or less if you prefer)
- Melt butter or ghee in a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Add chickpea flour and mix evenly with a spatula or wooden spoon to form a crumbly mixture.
- Stir continuously until butter starts to come out of the mixture, creating a paste that resembles thick peanut butter. (You may want to turn heat to medium-low at this point, so you can be lazier and stir less often while reducing the chance of burning it.) This step takes a looong time so don’t get impatient! Your first sign that the mixture is almost there is when it starts getting darker in places.
- Turn off the heat and mix in the powdered sugar and cardamom.
- When it has cooled enough to handle, take handfuls of the mixture and roll with your palms into ping pong-sized balls. Place on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and let it cool before enjoying (optional).
I used my Blendtec to grind up the cardamom pods. You could also use a mortar and pestle to grind them up. Note that it doesn’t have to be super uniform and fine.
See the step-by-step pictures below for an idea of what your recipe should look like at each stage; it’s important not to rush the process!
Because this recipe is made with chickpea flour, it also has the benefit of being gluten-free, for those with celiac disease. Also, ghee is lactose-free, so that’s a good option for the lactose-intolerant peeps.
Cooling the ladoos is optional, but the inner texture is different when eaten warm (more chewy, like peanut butter) vs room temperature (crumbly and “flaky”). I like both! This is what the inside of a still-warm ladoo looks like. Very similar to peanut butter cookie dough!
A fun, simple Indian dessert
So me and my Indian coworker both love food, and during one conversation about what we wished we were eating that day, he brought up ladoos. The first (and only) time I’ve eaten ladoos was in my first year of uni when my roommate had brought them all the way from India. Even though that was over a year ago by then, I hadn’t forgotten the unique taste and texture.
So when Kulshaan mentioned ladoos, I was instantly reminded of this experience. I googled the ingredients and was surprised to find out they are actually pretty simple, and I already had all the ingredients in my pantry! I told Kulshaan I was going to make ladoos one of these days and bring them in for him to try. He seemed skeptical at the time, tbh. It’s probably been a month since I first made that promise, but hey a late delivery is better than never, and I’m sure he didn’t mind. In fact, he loved these ladoos so much he saved an extra one to bring home for his sister.
A lot of ladoo recipes call for other ingredients to add in like cashews or other flours, but I wanted to keep mine simple so I could enjoy the pure taste of roasted chickpea. It’s pretty rare to find chickpeas in a sweet dish, but it really shines in this recipe. Of course, you can add other things to if you want—like cookies, ladoos have endless variations. I’m sure most chopped nuts would work well, as would dried coconut. Maybe even chocolate chips?