Boondi Ladoo is a very delicious Indian sweet that is usually made during Diwali and other Indian festivities like Navratri, Shivratri and during Puja (prayers). I remember that as a child, I would request my aunt to make extra for me because I loved them so much. I often made the ladoos with her and after processing the boondies, we would sit down with our plates and start binding them with our hands. This recipe is a credit to my aunt and mother who have over the years perfected the art of making these incredible boondi ladoos.
It has a very unique taste owing to the fact that it is a sweet made of peas! Also note that because of the peas in the mix, it can cause a lot of bloating if you have had one too many (that’s why we add asafoetida as an ingredient, it helps with digestion).
Historically, Fiji hardly had such a variety of sweets that we have now. My grandma tells me they used to make simple things like Gojia and Gulgula but nothing like the kilos of sweets we make now. Grandma says she doesn’t mind the progress although it adds more work during such a busy time. But it makes her happy as she loves to see her children and grandchildren eat and enjoy during Diwali. My mum and aunties began collecting sweet recipes from friends and families and had a collection of handwritten recipes in the pre-internet era. They made and improved recipes with time and now my generation can continue the legacy and make sweets for our families. I am happy that in modern times, I can share these recipes online thanks to this website and more people and new generations can enjoy them too.
Boondi means droplets – imagine a droplet of water. When you mix the flour into a batter, it should be runny enough to make droplets. These boondis are then deep fried and allowed to drain (remove excess oil), crushed into a chunky/crunchy texture and then mixed with milk and aromatic spices to make it delicious. At my wedding, a mystery sweet maker made the most incredible ladoo with whole boondis – they were not crushed at all (this makes it challenging to bind) and they were as big as my fist. That was the perfect boondi ladoo but the sweet maker has still not been identified so I am banking on my own family recipe for the time being.
Boondi ladoo is made in many different ways and people like it either crunchy or a little on the soft side. I personally do not have a preference, this ladoo is too delicious to care about texture. My ladoo pictured below is of only one colour but I highly recommend making two batches of the mixture and colouring them separately. This adds more beauty and interest and is the signature look of this type of ladoo. Red and yellow makes the best combination but you can experiment and make your own colourful boondi ladoos.
It can be a bit time consuming to make if you are making them for the family but the enjoyment you get from eating them far exceeds the efforts. Once the boondi ladoo is set and hardened, the texture is soft yet crumbly and as you take a bite, the explosion of sweetness mixed with the aromatic spices is pretty incredible. Sold in many sweet shops and incredibly popular, this ladoo is one that needs to be made in large quantities because everyone loves them!
- 2 Cups Pea Besan (Pea Flour)
- 2 Tbsp Powdered Milk
- 2 Tbsp Elaichi Powder (Cardamom)
- 1 Tbsp Jaifar Powder (Nutmeg)
- 2 Food Colours
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
- ½ Tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 ½ Cups Water
- In a large bowl, mix the pea besan with water – enough to make a runny consistency batter
- Add vanilla, hing (asafoetida) and baking powder to the batter and mix. Divide this mixture into halves and place them in two separate bowls. Colour them with a few drops of food colouring (to make two different coloured batter). *You can also make a single coloured batter like I have in the above picture
- Heat enough oil to deep fry. Use an apparatus with holes in them (like a slotted spoon) and strain the mixture through to make boondies (they should look like little droplets of water – don’t worry if they’re misshapen). Do this till all the batter is fried then set aside to cool
- In a blender, blend the cool boondies till a coarse texture is obtained, then transfer them to another large basin – mix the coloured boondies together
- To the basin add the powdered milk, elaichi (cardamom) and jaifar (nutmeg). Mix well and set aside
- Make a 2 thread syrup by boiling the sugar and water (when the syrup is dripped into water, the drop won’t move)
- Once ready, add the syrup to the boondi mixture in small batches and roll into round balls with wet hands
- Store in an airtight container once cooled. They stay fresh for a week.