Til Gud ke Ladoo

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Festivals are always a memorable part of my travels to India. Last year we missed celebrating Makar Sankranti, Lohri and Pongal in India as we left before the 14th of January. However, what I remember is that whichever market area we passed by in Mumbai, the whole scene was a feast for the eyes. Colorful kites of all sizes, heaps of sesame seeds, varieties of gur or jaggery, ready made til gud sweets dotted the whole lane. We even got an opportunity to sample til gud chocolate barfi.

At the moment I’m in Nairobi trying to get our visas for US and Thailand. After all the tonnes of papers we carried from Mombasa incase they ask for some proof or the other, the US embassy didn’t even ask for one paper except for the passports. Now that in reality is scary as that means they probably know you better than you know yourself. We got the visas on Friday. Today we headed to the Royal Thai Embassy, thinking that applying for visas there would be a breeze! Well not exactly. They require a confirmed return airline ticket which we had from Bengaluru to Bangkok and back. However, they insisted that we should have the one for India too, i.e. the Mombasa Mumbai one! How silly! We showed our OCI card but that didn’t matter to them. What difference does it make to them when and how we get to India as long as we leave their country before the visa expires. So much drama!

I wasn’t sure I would be able to post a recipe for this theme, but when I got back home(a proper bachelors’ pad), I wanted to divert my mind from the morning events so decided cook something. Looked for ingredients to make some til gud ladoos and found all them! Both father and son cook so quite a number of ingredients are found in their pantry. One is a proper vegetarian and the other a meat lover. Extremes in one kitchen.

What’s the importance of having sesame seeds and jaggery during the makar sankranti/lohri or the different harvest festivals that are celebrated all over India. Both til or sesame seeds and gud or jaggery is considered to be perfect winter foods as they help to keep the body warm and increases immunity. Jaggery is rich in iron and Vitamin C. Also its believed that one should eat til gud and speak well or say good things to others.

Coming to the ladoos that I made, I read quite a few recipes before making them. Number one, one needs to add ghee to bind the ladoos. Without that it was not possible. Two, half a cup of gud was not sweet enough or I guess it all depends on the type of gud you get. I added a few dried cranberries to give the ladoos a slight sour taste.

Enjoy some Til Gud Ladoos, share them neighbors, friends and relatives and speak well throughout the year.


Makes 12-14

1 cup sesame seeds (til)

½ – ¾ cup powdered jaggery (gud)

¼ cup peanuts

¼ cup desiccated coconut

2 – 4 tbsp ghee

10 dried cranberries

  1. Roast the sesame seeds over low heat, stirring constantly, till they begin to crackle.
  2. Remove the seeds. Add the peanuts and roast them over low heat. Stir them constantly till they begin to split.
  3. Remove the peanuts. Add the coconut and roast, stirring constantly till it gives out aroma.
  4. Remove the coconut from the pan.
  5. Put all the roasted ingredients, ghee and cranberries in a food processor.
  6. Process till the whole mixture is fine and comes together like a paste.
  7. Take about a tablespoonful of the mixture and by pressing it in your fist, make a ball or ladoo.
  8. Work as fast as you can as its easier to form the balls. If the mixture becomes cold, just put it in the microwave oven for 30 secs or less.


  • Use a combination of white and black seeds.
  • Add jaggery according to your taste.
  • Can omit the dried cranberries.

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You may want to check out some Makar Sankranti recipes:

Gulachi Poli

Chocolate Sesame Fudge

Tal and Mixed Nut Ladoos

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