Makar Sankranti, which marks the commencement of the sun’s journey towards the northern hemisphere (Makara raasi), resulting in longer and warmer days, is celebrated with traditional fervour all over India. Til ladoo is a delightfully rich dessert with earthy sesame seeds and buttery-rich jaggery made to celebrate the festival, which is also known as Pongal in South India, Lohri in North India, and Bihu in East India.
This quick recipe uses grated jaggery, ghee (clarified butter), peanuts, shredded coconut and just a few steps to achieve the authentic flavours of the Maharashtrian ‘Tilache ladoo’.
In Maharashtra, these aromatic, sweet ladoos are made in big batches to share with family and friends for 10 days leading to Makar Sankranti Day. While exchanging the sweet with loved ones, especially kids and elders, the following words are said, “Til gul ghya, god bola,” which translates to ‘take til gul and talk sweetly’ (to maintain the sweetness of our relationship).
Packed with iron, healthy fats, calcium, magnesium and a slew of nutritional benefits, til gul ladoos are a must in the winter months when our body craves that extra energy and heat. Here’s how you can make this traditional sweet at home.
¾ cup brown Sesame Seeds
½ cup Peanuts
¼ cup dry unsweetened Coconut Desiccated or Shredded
1 cup Jaggery grated & lightly packed
1 tsp Ground Cardamom
2 tbsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- Roast sesame seeds on medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes. The sesame seeds will release aromas and also start to sizzle in the pan. Once browned, transfer the sesame seeds in a wide bowl and allow them to cool.
- In the same pan, roast the peanuts for 2 to 3 minutes stirring constantly. Once the peanuts start to get light golden brown spots on them, take them out in a bowl and allow to cool.
- Then, add the shredded coconut to the hot pan and turn the heat off in a few seconds. Dry roast for 1 to 2 minutes using the leftover heat from the pan and wait until it turns light golden brown. Transfer the roasted coconut in a bowl.
- Next, add the cooled sesame seeds and peanuts to the food processor and pulse 10 to 12 times. Don’t over process, we still want to see some whole peanut pieces for a textural and crunchy element.
- Then, add coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder and blitz everything for 20 to 30 seconds. Once everything is mixed in, add the ghee and pulse everything 4 to 5 times.
- Take out the mixture in a large bowl and massage it with your hands so the oils from the sesame seeds and peanuts start to release. This grease will help roll and shape the ladoos easily.
- Take about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture and start pressing in the palm of your hands and rolling it on all sides to shape a round ladoo.
- Make however many ladoos you want from the mixture, and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place at room temperature for up to 10 days.