Spiced gram flour ladoo (besan ladoo)

Try this classic Indian sweet at Diwali. Besan ladoo is made with nutty fried gram flour enriched with fragrant saffron, chopped cashews and homemade ghee

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:25 mins
    plus cooling
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 333
  • fat 21g
  • saturates 10g
  • carbs 28g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 7g
  • salt 0.01g


  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 100g icing sugar, sieved
  • 50g unsalted cashews
  • 125g ghee (see tip, below)
  • 200g gram flour, sieved
  • ¼ tsp saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped pistachios


Heat 250g unsalted butter in a small sturdy pan and cook over a low heat, without stirring, for 15-20 mins, or until the milk solids start to brown and the butter is golden. Turn the heat off and leave the pan undisturbed for a few minutes.Line a metal sieve with muslin or strong kitchen paper and place over a heatproof bowl. Pour over the melted butter, taking care to leave the browned milk solids in the pan. Leave the ghee for a few minutes to drip into the bowl, then pour it into a jar. Because ghee has no moisture or milk solids it will keep for 2-3 months at room temperature without spoiling, and can be stored in the fridge for extra longevity.


  1. Split the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Grind the seeds to a powder with 1 tsp of the icing sugar using a pestle and mortar. Set aside.

  2. Heat a sturdy, small pan and roast the cashews over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until they pick up flecks of colour. Transfer to a chopping board, and once cooled, finely chop.

  3. Melt the ghee in a wok or karahi over a low heat, add the sieved gram flour and fry, stirring all the time, until it darkens and releases a toasted aroma, about 15-20 mins. Stir in the toasted cashews and transfer to a mixing bowl. Leave until warm enough to handle.

  4. Add the remaining sugar, ground cardamom and saffron with its soaking liquid. Knead the paste until smooth, then leave to cool to room temperature.

  5. Shape the gram flour mixture into small balls (ladoos) with your hands, about 3 cm in diameter. Put them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. If the ladoos are a little soft, chill for 10 mins to firm up. To serve, press a few chopped pistachios into the top of each one. Will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 7-10 days.

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