Ladoo has always been my favourite South Asian dessert. I like all of them, I have never met one that I didn’t like, but ladoo has always been my favourite.
I’ve been trying to make more South Asian desserts, just because I don’t see a lot of recipes and videos on them, on Instagram and TikTok.
What is ladoo?
There are quite a few different kinds of ladoo. But I feel like the most common kinds are motichoor and boondi ladoo.
Boondi ladoo, or laddu, is a dessert that is very popular in Pakistan and India.
It’s essentially made out of small fried droplets of a gram flour batter. This is the boondi.
These are then soaked in a syrup and then formed into balls.
I always find it hard to describe the taste of South Asian desserts, just because they’re different I don’t know what to compare them too.
All I can say is that boondi ladoos are soft, a little juicy, sweet and they have a nice cardamon flavour.
Difference between motichoor and boondi ladoo.
The ladoos are pretty much the same. The only difference is the size of the boondi.
Motichoor ladoo is made with much smaller boondis, boondi ladoo is made with bigger ones.
That is it. I’ve always preferred boondi ladoos, but they are very similar!
Ingredients for the batter
Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make the batter for the boondi:
- Gram flour – also known as besan, or chickpea flour.
- Baking soda – some recipes use this, some don’t. I feel like the boondis are better with some baking soda, so I use it.
That is it for the batter. You just whisk the ingredients together until you get a smooth, slightly thick but flowing batter.
Frying the boondi
You can either fry them in oil or ghee. I just used oil. Any flavourless oil works, but I used vegetable oil.
You want your oil to be around 160c – 170c. I’ve found that they fry better at this temperature, than the typical 180c that most things are fried at.
To fry them, you need a slotted spoon. You add a spoon full of batter to this slotted spoon. Then over the oil, tap the slotted spoon, whiles moving it around. This will form small little droplets in the oil.
Honestly, this is not the easiest thing to do. It takes some practice, I was struggling at first.
You don’t need to fry them for long, around 30 seconds is good. We don’t want them to become too crispy because then they won’t soak the syrup as well.
The consistency of the batter
I feel like the hardest part of making these ladoos, is getting the consistency of the batter right.
I’ve wrote in the recipe that you should use 380ml, but this amount will vary. Like I mentioned before, we’re looking to get a batter that is a little thick, but is flowing.
The best way to test it is to fry a batch.
If your boondis end up with tail ends, the batter is too thick, mix some more water into it. If the boondis end up flat, the batter is too thin, add some more flour to it.
You will need to do some adjustments.
With that being said, this was stressing me out a little. But you don’t need to be stressed, even if the boondis are not perfectly round, the ladoos are still going to taste the same.
So you don’t need to worry about this too much.
Mine were not perfectly round at all. Some of them were very weirdly shaped. But once I had formed the ladoos, I couldn’t even tell.
The sugar syrup
The next step is to make the sugar syrup. You want this syrup to be hot when you mix it into the boondi.
Here is what you will need to make it:
- Granulated sugar
- Cardamom pods
- Orange food colouring – this is optional
- Rose water – this is also optional. It just makes them smell nice.
To make it you just add the ingredients into a pot, except the rose water, add this at the end.
Then let this boil for about 5 minutes, just until it thickens slightly.
Forming the ladoos
Once the syrup has been made, pour this over your boondi and mix everything together.
You want to leave this aside for about 10-20 minutes, so that the boondi can soak up the syrup. But also so that the mixture can cool down, it will be hot at first.
Once it has soaked, you can start forming them.
To do this, grab some of the mixture. I grabbed 60g, but you don’t have to weigh it.
With this mixture that you have grabbed, squeeze it a little with your hands. This will get out any syrup that has not been soaked up, we don’t want this.
Then just form this into a ball, and keep repeating until you’ve used all of the mixture.
A lot of times ladoo has nuts in it.
I personally prefer them when they don’t have nuts. I usually love nuts, all kind of nuts, but I prefer ladoos without them.
But if you wanted to add some, you absolutely can. They typically either have almonds, cashews or pistachios in them. You can add whatever you want though.
I recommend toasting the nuts in a pan, with a little ghee or butter first.
Then just mix these into the boondi, after you have mixed in the sugar syrup.
Leaving the ladoos to set
You want to leave them to set up. They need time to congeal together.
I feel like congeal is not a nice word. but I don’t know what other word to use.
They just need some time ok.
In my personal opinion, the texture of the ladoos is better the next day, but leaving them at room temperature for 2 hours is good too!
- For the batter:
280g gram flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- For the sugar syrup:
380g granulated sugar
5 cardamom pods
A few strands of saffron
Some orange food colouring (optional)
2 teaspoons rose water
- Making the batter:
- In a large bowl, add the flour and baking soda, give this a whisk.
- Now add the water and whisk until you get a smooth batter.
- Frying the boondi:
- You want to fry your boondi in oil that is around 160c - 170c
- To fry, hold a slotted spoon over the oil, then add a spoonful of the batter to the slotted spoon. Keep tapping the slotted spoon, whiles moving it around, this will form small balls in your oil. If the boondis end up long with tails, the batter is too thick, add some more water to it. If the boondis end up flat, the batter is too thin, add some more flour to it.
- You only want to fry the boondi for about 30 seconds, you don't want them to develop to much colour or become too crispy. Take them out and leave them on some paper towels. Keep repeating this until you've used all the batter.
- Making the sugar syrup:
- In a pot, add the sugar, water, cardamon pods, saffron and food colouring. Give this a mix then place it onto medium heat.
- Heat this until it comes to a boil, then leave it to boil for around 5 minutes, you just want it to thicken slightly.
- Once thickened, turn the heat off and mix in the rose water.
- Pour this hot syrup over your boondi. I like to sieve it to get out the cardamon pods.
- Mix everything together, then leave this aside for about 15 minutes so that the boondi can soak up the syrup.
- Now start forming your ladoo shapes. Grab some of the mixture and squeeze this to get out any excess syrup, then form this into a ball. Keep repeating this until you've used all of the mixture. Each one of my ladoos were around 60g each.
- Let these set up at room temperature for at least 2 hours, or you can leave them overnight. Then they are done, enjoy!