Friday, June 09, 2006

Maa ladoo

There is a link between tamil families and sweets. For every family, there is a traditional sweet that is made for every special occasion and is the gold standard for that family. When a guy in that family gets engaged, the bride's family has to prepare the sweet (or procure it from a good source) for the betrothal ceremony. The preparation will be subject to extensive critique at the end of the day (not usually in front of the bride's family, thankfully). The complicated part of this protocol is that the traditional sweet is never asked for openly in Indian 'arranged marriages'. One has to make assumptions based on whether the family is from Tanjore, Thirunelveli etc. For people, unfamiliar with tamil brahmin groups, most people originate from Tanjore, Thirunelveli and Palghat.

My marriage had this usual dilemma on what the guy's family sweet would be. S, being from Thirunelveli, it was decided that it should be Maa ladoo . It turned out to be a right guess, that my dad later confirmed with someone in S's family. My family is a rava ladoo family but our family sweet was boondi ladoos. Notice how complicated things are and how sweets are in-grained into life of Indians. My mom was not sure whether the ladoos were to be made with green gram, or dalia or yellow moong dal. We safely bought it from Krishna Sweets, who have the reputation for tasty sweets. Whether they lived upto S's family standards, is not known. Mainly because S feigns selective amnesia as to what happened when the sweet was tasted later on.

Anyway, this recipe comes from my MIL herself. I like rava ladoo but I have acquired a taste for Maa ladoo as well. And oh, the maa stands for 'maavu' made with powdered dalia.

Maa ladoo

1 cup puffed chana dal or dalia
1 cup sugar
4-5 T broken cashewnuts
5-6 elaichi

1/2 cup to 1 cup melted ghee , as needed

Dry roast dal until fragrant and warmed through. It should not change color. Add the dal, sugar and elaichi to a food processor and process until powdered fine. It would do good to pass it through a sieve once or twice. Heat 2 T of ghee and roast cashew until golden brown. Add to the powder. Add melted ghee as needed to make rounds from the powder but not so much to make it oily or soggy.

This sweet is especially nutritious for children since dalia is considered easy to digest and helps to increase bone density and promote weight gain.


  1. I like maa ladoo - especially the crunchy cashew nut pieces! :) It's so ridiculously simple to make, isnt it? My mother makes them sort of bite-sized or there's every chance of some greedy person (wonder who that could be...) choking to death on a large ladoo! ;)

  2. Good one Mika. I have to try this, it looks different.

  3. I love maa ladoo. Nice recipe.

  4. ahh... that brings some plesant memories. In Tirunelveli ( mostly the non-brahmin groups) also call them..nei urundai (as in Ghee ladoo, but not using the word ladoo), as the ghee is used in copious amts to bind the dalia/sugar combo.
    great post!

  5. Hi Mika,
    Maavo ladoo looks yummy.
    My grandmom makes this .
    Thanks for sharing,