Most of us are more familiar with Gum Arabic than we realize. It’s often found in chewing gum, baked goods, candies, ice cream, frostings, fillings, soft drinks, syrups, cocktails and more. In India, it may be added to laddoos. Laddoos are a rich, chewy and nourishing treat enjoyed in months with wet or cold weather as they are not only delicious, but hearty, nutritious and warming, making them perfect for the winters in Northern India, or any cold climate.
Gond (pronounced "gohnd") is the Indian name for Gum Arabic. Is it made from the hardened resin of the Acacia Senegal and Acacia Seyal. Its use dates back about 5,000 years to ancient Egypt.
Gond is known by many other names including edible gum, acacia gum, gum Sudani and Indian gum. It’s stabilizing and binding properties make it vastly popular throughout many industries including pharmaceuticals, textiles, cosmetics, printing and painting. However, because it is tasteless, odorless, nutritious and edible, and it’s a fabulous natural thickener and emulsifier, and an absolute favorite of the food industry.
In India, it’s customary to fry the whole crystals in ghee before grinding for use in various beverages and special sweet and savory treats. It’s often blended with nuts and coconut, various seeds, ghee, jaggery, sugar, spices and salt. A few favorite Indian treats featuring Gond include Gond Laddus, Panjiri, Jaripalla Churma, Gond ka Sheera and Kankari Ajwain (aka Mukhwas).
How to Make Gond Ladoo
- 6 tbsp ghee
- ½ cup (100g) edible gum arabic (gond)
- 2 tbsp cashews, chopped
- 2 tbsp almonds, chopped
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 1½ cup (100g) dry coconut, grated
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- ¾ cup (100g) dried dates
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom powder
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup (200g) jaggery
- 2 tbsp water
- Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, and roast the gond until it becomes lightly brown and puffy. Roast in batches, if needed.
- Remove gond from pan, place in mixing bowl, and crush with your hand or back of a spoon.
- To the same pan, add cashews, almonds, and raisins; Roast until golden brown, and then remove from heat, and add to the mixing bowl with the gond.
- In a separate dry pan, roast the grated coconut and the poppy seeds, and then add to the mixing bowl.
- Add spices to mixing bowl.
- In the pan, add jaggery and water and heat on low until melted, then add to mixing bowl.
- Grease your hands with ghee and mix everything in the bowl well; shape into balls while everything is still warm. Balls will harden as they cool.