Gond laddu are popular Indian winter snack that helps keep your body warm but honestly, the most tricky thing to shape, right? Sweet balls made with ghee-fried edible gum (gond), toasted flour, dried fruits and nuts.
If not for food blogging, I would have never known about Gond. It was one of my followers who asked me if she can use Gond instead of mastic in my Kunafa and Layali Lubnan recipe. I made a note and picked a pack of Datar Gund from nearby Lulu.
What went wrong with the first batch?
My first attempt at making Gond ke Laddu was a big failure. I failed even though I read a lot of articles on how to make them and went in fully prepared. A classic example of theory vs practicals! 😄 I tried to salvage it, but discarded them the next day.
The gond pieces were not fried through. I knew this because one bite of the ladoos left a sticky gummy feeling in the mouth. I also used too much ghee making the mixture too wet to hold shape so added more flour but the gum couldn't be fixed so it got wasted anyways! 😭
Now, to all those who have the same question as my follower - the answer is NO. Mastic has flavour and aroma which Gond completely lacks. You can easily skip mastic in those recipes as we use a very tiny amount for the flavour.
Gond vs Gond Katira
Two types of Gond are used widely in India and they are different in properties and benefits.
Gond ke Ladoo is made with the Gond that is extracted from acacia or babool tree and generally labelled as just Gond. This type of Gond dissolves in water easily and is usually labelled as Dink or Indian gum or Gum arabic. This Gond has warming properties so is consumed during the winter in some form of ladoos. Great for the bones as these are rich in calicum and protein.
The other type of Gond is called Gond Katira or Tragacanth gum obtained from wide varieties of sap (skipping the botanicals here 😜). When soaked in water, Gond Katira absorbs and becomes a jelly-like substance. Gond Katira is known for its cooling properties and is consumed only during summers in cold beverages like sharbat or milk.
- Packaged Gond for making gond laddu are labelled as Dink or Indian gum or Gum Arabic or Gond Kikar.
- Packaged Gond Katira for sharbat is labelled as Gond Katira, Badam Pisin, Tragacanth Gum (if you know any more, let me know in the comments)
- Gond: As explained above, you need the edible acacia gum gond for making ladoos.
- Flour: I have used whole wheat flour (atta) and Finger millet flour (ragi). You may skip the ragi flour and use all wheat flour.
- Sweetener: I have used white sugar and jaggery. If you believe that jaggery is better than sugar, get your facts right. Sugar and Jaggery have almost the same calorie content but jaggery has a better nutrition profile than sugar. But the nutrition you get from jaggery comes with high calories - which means you still have to sweat out or cut down calories elsewhere- if you are into counting. So it is okay to use sugar or jaggery or dates, but remember moderation is the key.
- Ghee: Keep close a cup handy.
- Nuts, seeds and dried fruits
- cardamom powder and or ginger powder
How to make it?
The process of making Gond ke laddu should be done in a stretch without long breaks. The ingredients should stay warm to handle to be able to shape.
- Powder the sugar and grate the jaggery (if using)
- dry roast the seeds and coconut (if using)
- Fry the gond pieces in small batches - this is the most crucial step.
- Fry the nuts
- Toast the flours
- Pulse the nuts and seeds to coarse mixture
- Crush fried gond with back of a small bowl
- Mix everything and shape the laddu while still warm
- Cool and store in an airtight container
Dry roast seeds and coconut
Heat a thick bottomed kadai on low to medium flame. Dry roast ¼ cup sesame seeds until they turn light golden. Remove and keep aside.
Add ¼ desiccated coconut and dry roast until they turn light golden. Remove and keep aside. You may skip this or add any other seeds you have like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.
Fry Gond in ghee
Heat some of the ghee to fry gond (edible gum). I like to use kadai as you can fry small batches in much lesser ghee than in a flat pan.
Fry gond in small batches. Please read the recipe card for more details and tips to fry gond perfectly.
This is how ghee fried gond aka edible gum will look like.
Try to hand crush the fried gond using back of a heavy spoon, metal bowl or mortar and pestle.
Fry nuts and dried fruits
Continue with the frying activity... Add more ghee as you go. Fry the nuts and dried fruits you plan to use. I have used almonds, cashews and pistachios.
Use a food processor or mixie grinder to pulse the nuts a few times. You want them to have coarse texture with some large chunks.
Add more ghee and roast the flours until aromatic on low to medium flame. This will take 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate once done.
I tried melting the grated jaggery lightly but that is optional. This just helps in keeping the mixture warm. Now, all you have to do is add all the items.
Add the roasted flour, ground nuts mixture, cardamom and or ginger powder for the flavour.
Mix everything and start making laddu when you can handle the heat. I
If you don't have helping hand like me, then you may have to do it quickly in small batches of reheated mixture (see recipe card). Shape each ladoo until firm. Store in an airtight container on the counter. No need to keep in the fridge.
Else, turn the whole thing into Gond Halwa by adding the leftover ladoo mixture that has dried out into boiling water and sugar. Cook until the whole thing comes together without sticking. Spread them on a tray and score lines to make square pieces. Cool completely, remove the squares and store. (Funny thing, F said that this version tastes like Aflatoon - I had to google it - a famous Mumbai sweet)
Hint: The mixture is ready to eat even if not shaped into ladoos. Left to dry, the mixture will resemble and taste like the famous Panjeeri.
Gond ke Ladoo with Ragi and Atta flour
- 1 cup sugar powdered (or grated jaggery)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- ¾ cup ghee
- ⅓ cup gond edible acacia gum
- ¼ cup almonds
- ¼ cup whole cashews
- ¼ cup pistachios
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (atta)
- ⅓ cup finger millet flour (ragi)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (and or ginger powder)
- 2 tablespoons dried rose petals optional
Powder the sugar
- Use a mixie grinder or food processor to powder the sugar. If using jaggery blocks, use the grater to grate.
Dry roast seeds
- Heat a heavy-bottomed kadai (iron or steel) on a low to medium flame and dry roast the sesame seeds until light golden. Remove and keep aside. Next dry roast the coconut until light golden and remove them from the pan. You may skip coconut or use more seeds. Add more ghee to fry the gond in batches.
Check the oil temp
- It is crucial to fry the Gond pieces at the right temperature. Add one piece of Gond to the hot ghee to test the ghee temperature. If the Gond piece sizzles up to the surface and puffs up to almost double the size, then the oil is ready for action. If the Gond settles down in the oil, that means the oil temp is low so increase the heat. If the Gond comes up as soon as you drop it, that means the oil is too hot, so reduce it. Throughout the frying process, you will need to adjust the heat.
Fry the gond in batches
- Fry in batches because they double in size. I had fried ⅓ cup Gond in 5 to 8 batches! Make sure to stir each batch of Gond constantly until they fry evenly and puff up. Remove the puffed-up Gond using a slotted spoon and keep them aside on a plate. Add more ghee if required to fry the nuts.
Fry the nuts
- Add some ghee and fry the almonds stirring often until the skin colour starts to darken. Remove using a slotted spoon and keep them aside. Add more ghee if required and fry the cashews and pistachios until aromatic. Remove and keep them aside. Add more ghee to toast the flour.
Toast the flour
- Reduce the flame to low. Add both the flour and keep stirring until the aroma gets nutty and the colour changes to darker shade. Keep stirring until the flour is roasted evenly. Don't be tempted to increase the flame, you may burn the flour. You will know the flour is toasted when it doesn't taste raw. Once done, remove the toasted flour from the pan to prevent gettng burnt.
Crush the fried Gond
- You can easily crush them using back of small bowl, rolling pin, or mortar and pestle.
Crush the fried nuts
- Add the fried nuts into the same grinder of powdered sugar and pulse it to coarse. Add the seeds and cococut and pulse a few times.
Make Gond ke ladoos
- After you finish crushing the fried Gond and nuts, check if the flour mix is still warm. If it is not, then reheat it on low flame stirring for a few minutes until the flour is warm to the touch. Switch off and stir in the powdered sugar, jaggery, crushed nuts, crushed Gond, cardamom powder and dried rose petals.
- Mix with a spoon and start making ladoos by grabbing a handful of the mixture and squeezing it tight first and then shaping them into balls inside your palm. The mixture will seem to be too dry but it will hold together. It took me close to a minute to shape one ball.
- Now, if you are the only person working on this, then the mixture will lose its warmth before you can finish making the balls. The weather can be the cause too. If this happens, take a small portion of the mix and add it to the kadai and reheat just to make it warm. Remove and mix it with the rest of the mixture and continue to make the balls. Repeat the process of lightly reheating a small portion to be able to make the balls.
- Let the Gond ladoos cool completely and you can store them in an airtight plastic or steel container. Serve as a mid-day breakie or evening snack with chai.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know!