I am a huge fan of traditional boondi laddu’s. Because they are deep-fried and then dipped in white sugar syrup, they are obviously high in calories, and they carry bad calories. Bad calories meaning it is from oil and sugar. For these reasons, boondi laddu’s are not in my festival food list. Instead, I started making quiet yummy laddu’s with other healthier ingredients yet no compromise in taste. They are all-natural, diet-friendly laddu’s. For those who have diet, restrictions don’t have to think much to eat. Just relax enjoy the festive season. They carry healthy calories, as minerals (magnesium, potassium, iron), Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber. They are also a good source of proteins.
Flax seeds are known to reduce blood pressure, hypertension. They improve eye, kidney, skin, hair and nail health. Remember flax seeds also improves women’s and men’s health. From a fitness perspective, adding whole flax seeds to your diet is nothing but adding all-natural good protein.
Laddu can be compared to bliss balls, truffles in the western world. To be more precise, no-bake, no chocolate bliss balls or no-bake, no chocolate truffles. Flax, poppy-seed and coconut laddu is all-natural and high-quality desert you can ever have. It is perishable. Will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks. Freshness can be extended by refrigerating.
What is Laddu/Laddoo?
Laddu is ball-shaped sweet, very popular sweet in India. Laddus are main attraction in weddings, parties, offered to god on festivals and offered to guests in special occasions. The common variety of laddu is boondi laddu and motichur laddu. They are made of deep-fried batter mixed in sugar syrup then pressed into a ball in hand. Though traditional laddus are made of Bengal gram lentils flour batter, they can be made of a variety of ingredients, flavored with many different spices. Few complimentary condiments added are green cardamom, nuts, raisins, and saffron.
With so much popularity of boondi laddus, they are made and served at every special occasion. They are juicy, and the sweetness melts right in the mouth. I remember in my childhood, for weddings, family members get-together, make huge quantities of laddus. They are offered to guests in every meal. Part of the reason they are offered in every occasion is laddus are economical and perishable. Temperatures in South India can raise up to 115ºf/45ºc in summers. Even in those temperature’s laddus stay fresh for many days. Back in olden days’ where there is no concept of catering food, family members used to get-together, help each other. They make as many snacks, sweets themselves. For lunch, dinner entrée’s cooks are hired and cooked on site. It needs bengal gram lentil flour (aka besan cousin of chick-pea), sugar and condiments. Besan is available for a very low price.
Nowadays, boondi laddus are available in all Indian sweet stores in a variety of colors, sizes, and textures. They are available beautifully decorated with cashews, pistachios, saffron etc. Other types of laddus are not made on all occasions but made at few occasions. Sesame laddus are made for Sankranthi festival which falls in January. It is believed sesame gives heat to the body to cope in winters. So a variety of hots and sweets with sesame became a norm. Other types of laddus we come across are besan laddu (this version is not deep-fried), rava laddu, coconut laddu, cashew laddu, dates and dry fruits laddu.
Here I present flax, poppy-seed and coconut laddu.
- ¼th cup ground flax meal.
- ¼th cup poppy seeds
- ¼ cup fresh or dry grated coconut.
- ¼th tsp - fresh ground cardamom
- ¾ cup - brown sugar or grated jaggery. If using jaggery, use ½ cup only
- ¼ cup or less - fresh ghee. Using homemade ghee gives laddu's a mouth-watering aroma
- Few cashews to garnish
- You can buy fresh flax seeds and grind yourself. This process preserves all nutrients. You can buy pre-ground flax meal. Make sure to buy whole flax meal.
- If you are using whole flax seeds and grinding yourself, roast flax seeds slightly before grinding on medium heat. Heating will take key nutrients away. That's why we will roast lightly to take the raw smell away.
- If using flax meal, roast lightly.
- Grind poppy seeds first. When they are ground to powder, add flax meal, coconut, cardamom, brown sugar and pulse. Pulsing everything together helps in even mixing.
- Remove into a mixing bowl. Let it cool.
- Meanwhile, fry cashews in a little ghee till golden brown. Let them cool.
- Add ghee slowly to roasted mixture. Keep mixing as you add. This ensures just enough ghee needed. Adding more ghee makes mixture slimy. Try forming balls as you add ghee. When you think you can make balls, don't add any more ghee.
- Add cashews to this mixture. Make balls by pressing in your hand and fingers.