- Preparation and cooking time
- plus at least 2 hrs soaking and chilling
- More effort
- Serves 8; makes 14-16
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- 8 green cardamom pods , seeds only
- 225g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp
- 125g gram flour
- 1 litre sunflower oil or 500g ghee, for deep-frying, plus extra for your hands
- 2 tbsp chopped pistachios
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, chopped, or dried melon seeds (char magaz)
- 225g caster sugar
- STEP 1
Grind the saffron strands using a pestle and mortar, then transfer to a small bowl and leave to soak in 2 tbsp warm water for 1 hr.
- STEP 2
Meanwhile, using the same pestle and mortar, pound the cardamom seeds to a powder with the 1 tsp sugar.
- STEP 3
Sieve the gram flour into a large bowl and whisk in enough water to make a batter the consistency of double cream.
- STEP 4
Half-fill a wok or karahi with oil and heat it to 180C. It's ready when a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
- STEP 5
For the gram flour droplets, you will need a slotted spoon, or use a coarse metal sieve, although the gram flour droplets won’t have a round shape when fried. Hold the spoon or metal sieve 2cm over the hot oil. Using a ladle, carefully pour a ladleful of batter onto the spoon, gently pushing the batter through the holes in the spoon or sieve in a circular motion with the rounded base of the ladle.
- STEP 6
If the batter is too thin, the droplets will flatten, so add a little more sieved gram flour if needed. If it's too thick, the droplets will be elongated and have wispy tails – a spoonful of water will loosen the batter.
- STEP 7
Fry the flour droplets in batches for 30-40 seconds without browning, then drain on kitchen paper. If you're using a slotted spoon, wipe the spoon clean with kitchen paper between every batch.
- STEP 8
Once the droplets have cooled, break up any clumps with your fingers and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the ground cardamom, pistachio nuts and pine nuts (or melon seeds) and set side.
- STEP 9
For the syrup, dissolve the sugar in 225ml water and boil for about 10 mins over a medium heat, until it starts to thicken. The temperature should reach 110C on a sugar thermometer.
- STEP 10
Stir in the saffron and its soaking water, and boil the syrup for a further 1 minute. Remove from the heat and pour the hot syrup over the gram flour droplets. Using the back of a wooden spoon, roughly crush one-third of the droplets into the syrup. Cover the bowl and leave to cool before chilling the mixture for 1-2 hrs. This will thicken the syrup and make it easier to shape the laddus.
- STEP 11
Lightly oil your hands and firmly squeeze and shape portions of the mixture into 14-16 balls, about the size of a walnut. Arrange them on a parchment-lined tray and store the laddus in an airtight box in the fridge. Will keep chilled for up to one week. Serve at room temperature.