Sweet balls made with ghee-fried edible gum (gond), toasted flour, dried fruits and nuts. Gond ladoo are popular Indian winter food that helps keep your body warm.
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. That was last winter! 🙊 In no time I was entangled in the web of Gond laddu recipes on the internet. Made a mental note to try them but it took me almost a year to get to it.
What went wrong with the first batch?
My first attempt at making Gond ke Ladoo in December 2020 was a big failure. I failed even though I read a lot of articles on how to make Gond ke laddoo and went in fully prepared and equipped. 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
Before you head out to make Gond ke Ladoo, educate yourself with this basic information so you know what to look for.
I won't be delving into the benefits of gond etc. because that is a lot of content and google is your friend.
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. 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 ladoos 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 an edible acacia gum gond for making ladoos.
- Flour: My Gond ladoos have an equal portion of whole wheat flour (atta) and Finger millet flour (ragi). You may skip the ragi flour and use all wheat flour. You get to buy ragi flour but I made my own sprouted ragi flour using Archana's Kitchen recipe. (achievement worth mentioning!😇
- Sweetener: Use in powder form. I have used an equal portion of 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 any other sweetener of choice, but remember moderation is the key.
- Ghee: The best you can get - desi or homemade or pure butter ghee.
- Nuts: I have used only almonds but you can use a mix of nuts of your choice.
- Dried fruits: I have used only golden raisins, you may add a mix of your choice.
- cardamom powder: makes it better but if you don't like it, then add other flavourings like vanilla or almond extract etc.
- Dried rose petals: I used them because I had them. Also, figured they are best when kept in the freezer!
How to make?
- Powder the sugar and jaggery
- Fry the nuts
- Fry the gond pieces in batches
- Toast the flours
- Crush the nuts
- Crush fried gond
- Mix and make ladoos while still warm
- Cool and store in an airtight container
Gond ke Ladoo with Ragi and Atta flour
- ¼ cup sugar powdered
- ¼ cup powdered jaggery
- ⅓ cup ghee
- 14 almonds
- ¼ cup Gond edible acacia gum
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup ragi flour finger millet
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons dried edible rose petals optional
Powder the sugar
- Use a mixie grinder or food processor to powder the sugar and jaggery (if using blocks).
Fry the nuts
- Heat ghee in heavy-bottomed kadai (iron or steel) on a low to medium flame 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 to fry the gond.
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
- Fry in batches because they double in size. I had fried ¼ cup Gond in 5 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 toast the flour.
Toast the flour
- Add wheat (atta) and finger millet (ragi) flour in a bowl and mix to combine. Reduce the flame to low. Add the flour mix and keep stirring until the aroma gets nutty and the colour changes. 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 the flour is roasted, switch off and remove the kadai from that hob.
Crush the fried Gond
- You can easily crush them using a rolling pin, mortar, and pestle.
Crush the fried nuts
- Add the fried nuts into the same grinder of powdered sugar and pulse it to coarse.
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.
- Then, transfer the flour to a large flat plate, stir in the powdered sugar, jaggery, any dried fruits like raisins, crushed nuts and crushed Gond, cardamom powder and dried rose petals.
- Mix with a spoon and start making ladoos by grabbing a handful of the mixture and shaping them into balls inside your palm using one hand. 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. If this happens, take a small portion of the mix and then 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.