Besan Ladoo is an indulgent Indian sweet that are delicious melt-in-the-mouth fudge balls made from gram or chickpea flour, powdered sugar and clarified butter (ghee). This easy vegan version of the traditional recipe calls for coconut oil instead of ghee, which makes the recipe dairy free too.
The process of making Besan Ladoo is really simple. The main ingredient is ‘Besan’ which is gram or chickpea flour. The common method is to roast the besan together with the ghee, in our case would be the coconut oil.
My personal preference is to sift the besan first as it tends to get lumpy easily.
Then, slow roast the besan dry to release a nutty aroma. Once the aroma is released and the besan slightly changes color, the coconut oil is added while continuing to roast the besan for a little longer. There is less chance that the besan is undercooked in this way; this would make the fudge balls taste like ‘raw’ chickpea flour. You need to take care not to burn the besan though. So, keep the heat on medium or medium-low and use a thick bottom pan.
The besan and coconut oil mixture is then cooled before adding the sugar, cardamom and nuts to make a thick pasty dough that is then formed into delicious, melt-in-the-mouth sweet balls. If the sugar is added while the mixture is still warm, it will melt and will not have the right consistency to form balls.
Coconut oil by itself does not quite have the same fragrance and flavour as ghee. So, my recommendation is to use virgin or unrefined coconut oil that has a nice aroma, instead of the refined one where the natural fragrance is removed.
You know what my favourite part is about these Besan Ladoos? It’s to share them with family and friends! It’s delightful to see how everyone’s face just lights up when they take a bite into these blissful sweet balls!
Besan or chickpea flour is used in many recipes and you’ll find quite a nice selection of recipes on this blog itself, from sweet to savoury, calling for it. This Pumpkin Besan Burfi is another delicate sweet fudge favourite of mine.
- 200 g (2 cups) besan (gram or chickpea flour)
- 120 ml (½ cup) virgin/unrefined coconut oil, add more if required
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 175 g (1 cup heaped) powdered sugar (powder ¾ cup white sugar or raw sugar in a mixer-grinder, small blender)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, or seeds from 6 to 8 green cardamoms, powdered in a mortar-pestle
- 70 g (½ cup) cashews – finely chopped or powdered, omit for nut-free version
- Handful of slivered cashews for garnish, use raisins or toasted coconut for nut-free version
Sift the besan into a heavy bottom pan, press all the lumps through the sieve.
Turn the heat on medium-low or medium and dry roast the besan while stirring steadily for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Keep on stirring continuously for the whole time, so that the besan doesn’t burn and cooks evenly.
You should notice a slight colour change and a nutty aroma being released.
After 12 minutes of dry roasting, add the coconut oil.
Stir and mix very well and continue roasting the besan for an additional 12 to 15 minutes, continuously stirring.
The mixture will start releasing the coconut oil and will give a nice fragrant nutty aroma. The mixture will also tend to loosen on the sides of the pan and become one big lump. That’s when you know the besan is fully cooked. Once that happens, add the water and stir. The texture will change slightly and that’s what we want.
Remove the pan from the stove-top and place it on your kitchen countertop to cool down. You may also transfer this mixture in a bowl and leave it in the refrigerator or freezer for a short while, to cool down completely.
Once completely cooled, add the powdered sugar, cardamom, and cashews.
Mix firmly with some strength from your hands. You have to mix this part vigorously so that the powdered sugar is well incorporated in the roasted besan and ghee mixture and no lumps are formed.
Once you have mixed the ladoo mixture well, take a tablespoon or two of the mixture (depending on the size you want to make), start pressing and forming balls between the palms of your hands. Roll into smooth balls and place them on a plate.
If the mixture is too dry to form balls, add a tablespoon or two of melted coconut oil; you shouldn’t need more than this. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more well roasted besan and powdered sugar.
Press in a slivered cashew or raisin onto each ladoo.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Although these ladoos should keep well at room temperature for up to a month, I prefer to refrigerate them, especially if temperatures are warmer.
Refrigerating them will make them firmer. So, if you prefer them softer, let them thaw for some time before serving.
The taste of these ladoos improves the next day and over time, when all flavours and aromas have mingled together.
Share them with friends and enjoy!