Coconut Ladoos: A Gluten Free and Vegan Friendly Dessert

coconut ladoos
Image courtesy of Chef Seema Makwana, founder, Buns and Deluchas

Synonymous with all things auspicious and joyous, ladoos (also spelt ladus) are not only an intrinsic part of Indian cuisine but also integral to Indian culture.  Any occasion that sparks joy or signifies new beginnings calls for ladoos and celebration galore! Ladoos are also a big part of festival celebrations and no Indian festival is complete without the preparation, consumption and distribution of these spherical treats! And today, it’s time for the coconut ladoos!

Versatile Sweet Dish

Ladoos are traditionally made from flour, sugar and fat.  The latter is either in the form of ghee, oil or butter.  Apart from flour one can prepare ladoos even from sesame seeds, groundnuts, dry fruits and even semolina (rava).  Sugar can be replaced with cane sugar or jaggery to give it a healthy twist.  Wheat flour ladoos made with ghee and jaggery are one of the most nutritious sweet meats prepared commonly for festivals.   

Coconut ladoos are again loaded with nutrients and serve as a guilt free dessert which you can enjoy on all occasions.  “Coconut ladoos are a favourite festival dessert across India. It is a traditional sweet ball consisting of coconut and a sweetener which is delicately flavoured with crushed cardamoms. For extra crunch one can add several types of nuts and raisins.  The dish has several variants and is prepared with loads of ghee and milk to add richness” says Chef Seema Makwana founder of Buns and Deluchas. Also called Nariyal laddus, these goodies are naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly. 

It is key to note that coconut offers several health benefits.  It is a rich source of minerals like copper, manganese and iron apart from antioxidants.  It has anti-bacterial properties too.  

Recipe (courtesy Chef Seema Makwana founder of Buns and Deluchas)

coconut ladoos
Image courtesy of Chef Seema Makwana, founder, Buns and Deluchas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp rose syrup
  • 1 ⁄ 2 cup sugar 
  • 3 tbsp clarified butter (desi ghee)
  • 1 ⁄ 2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 ⁄ 2 cup milk 
  • 100g khoya (mava)
  • 2 tbsp chopped dry fruits (almonds, cashew and pistachio)
  • 2 drops pink food colouring gel
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut for garnishing

Method:

  • Take a mixing bowl and add in grated coconut, milk, rose syrup and sugar. Mix it well. 
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan, add in clarified butter.  Once it melts add the coconut mixture prepared in the previous step. 
  • Stir constantly while allowing the mixture to thicken.  Now add khoya, food colouring gel and chopped dry fruits and stir continuously.
  • As the butter oozes out from the mixture and separates from the frying pan it means the mixture is ready.
  • Pour onto a greased plate. 
  • Allow it to cool for some time.  Then scoop a small portion of the mixture in your hands.  Roll into a ball shape and coat with desiccated coconut.
  • Keep it for at least half an hour in the fridge before serving.

Notes:

  • You can substitute sugar with powdered jaggery.
  • You can use almond milk instead of normal milk in case you are vegan.
  • Food colour is optional.

If ladoos are your thing, why not check out a delicious recipe for motichoor ladoo?