Friday, November 08, 2013

Madhu's Besan Laddoos, Rithika's Carrot n Coconut Date Squares and a message from Zeeshan of PCRM

Besan Laddoo, or as we say in Kannada, Besan Undé, is one of my absolute favorite sweets! I have wonderful memories of my grandma making them in my childhood days. Popping that freshly made, warm Besan Undé into my mouth as soon as she shaped it into a ball was pure bliss. Mmmm.

After I turned vegan, my gran and my aunts started to switch out the ghee with oil when they made Besan Undés for us. Those are pretty darned yum too but the texture is a bit on the softer side.

So recently, during Deepavali, when I saw a recipe for Besan Laddoo by my Facebook friend Madhulika Jajodia where she'd used cashew powder in the recipe to add firmness to the Laddoos, I just knew I had to try it out.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe to suit the ingredients I had at home and created these super delicious Besan Undés. They are so easy and quick to make that I'm afraid I'll be making them a little too often. :p

Vegan Besan Laddoos

Vegan Besan Undé

1 C Besan (Chickpea) Flour
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Cashew Powder
1/4 C Groundnut (Peanut) Oil
Elaichi (Cardamom) Powder
Toasted Almond Pieces

*Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pan (iron baandli) and heat.
*Add the besan flour, stir and toast on medium flame till it emits a nice aroma.
*Add sugar and cashew powder and continue to heat and stir for a few minutes.
*Finally add the elaichi powder and toasted almonds, mix well and turn off the heat.
*Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, till it is comfortable to handle.
*Grease your palms with oil and shape into tight balls.
*Eat some.
*Allow the remaining to cool completely and store in an airtight container.
*Enjoy! :)

Vegan Besan Laddoos

Talking about Deepavali sweets, Zeeshan Ali of PCRM wanted to share a few words here about healthy desserts, along with a delicious recipe by my good friend Rithika Ramesh of Vegan on the Prowl and The Green Stove.

“Following the celebration of Diwali — a festival of lights, fireworks, and sweets — in India, physicians with the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) offer a healthful alternative to traditional treats that are typically made with high-fat, high-cholesterol eggs and dairy products, including milk and ghee. These ingredients aren’t just bad for your waistline, recent studies link dairy consumption to prostate cancer.

“The good news? Health-conscious families can now swap dairy products for nondairy options, such as cashew milk. Other tips, to boost nutrients and curb fat, include swapping sugar for dates and applesauce for eggs.

“According to the study published in the journal "Diabetes Care," a diet low in cholesterol, fats and sugars lowers risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

“Carrot and Coconut Date Squares is a delicious example of a healthful, cholesterol-free treat; it’s packed with a decadent combination of carrots, coconut, and dates, which provide a mega-dose of beta-carotene, vitamins, and dietary fiber. These antioxidants naturally boost your immune system and fiber will help fill you up without filling you out.

Zeeshan Ali PhD
Phone: 202-527-7302

Rithika's Carrot n Coconut Date Squares

Carrot and Coconut Date Squares (Dessert)

For the base and crumble:
3 cups oats powdered
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 medium carrot grated
1/2 cup jaggery melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond butter

For the filling:
400 grams pitted dates
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange peel

Preheat your oven to 180˚C.
Mix all the dry ingredients for the crumble and then add the wet ingredients. Make it into a thick, firm dough.
Boil the dates with 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes. Make sure it doesn't burn. Once it cools, blend it into a smooth paste and add more water if required. Add the vanilla and orange peel.
In a square or rectangular baking dish lined with parchment paper, put two thirds of the oat mixture and spread evenly. Spread the date mixture on top of it. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture on top of it.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Links to additional recipes:


  1. Thanks for featuring my recipe Susmitha!

    Those besan undés look delish!! Cashew is really supercool! I thank the force in the universe responsible for cashew every day!

    1. Oh yeah! Cashew is amazing!!!

      Thanks for creating such beautiful recipes, Rithika. :)

  2. Love those sweets. So easy to pop one into your mouth!

    1. Totally! :) Every time I come back to this post and look at the picture, I want to make some again. Haha

  3. I love Besan ladoo. I will give this recipe to my sisters in India!

    Sushmita, where do we get muffin pan or mini-muffin pan in Bangalore. Also do you have any idea if alphabet cookies are available in Bangalore?

    Thank you so much veganizing so many yummy sweets.

    I hope you try to veganise seven-cup cake, an Indian sweet made with besan, ghee, coconut and sugar. The internet is flooded with so many seven-cup cake recipes, and all the recipe calls for

    1. I've heard of the seven cup cake, Kumudha. I've never had it myself but a friend told me about them. Will definitely look into them and try a vegan version. :)

      You can get cake pans at a bunch of stores at malls, I think. I've bought my muffin pans from Institute of Baking and Cake Art at the junction of Double Road and Mission Road. They have all kinds of awesome baking goodies there! :D

  4. These vegan besa unde are very tempting! I’ve been using chickpea flour lately and love them as sweet pancakes! The desserts/snacks remind me of sweet almond balls!

    1. Thanks Rika. :) I normally prefer chickpea flour in spicy/savory dishes, but this is one sweet I absolutely love it in. Mmmmm!!!