Laddu, a popular treat hailing from the Indian subcontinent, may very well be one of the oldest sweets still enjoyed today. This intoxicating dessert is believed to be at least two thousand years old – the earliest record of this sweet can be found in ancient Vedic texts from the 300s BC! The origins of laddu are not entirely clear, but it’s believed to have originated in ancient India and was initially consumed as an offering to Hindu deities during religious ceremonies.
The dessert is made by combining flour, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, and a variety of flavourings such as cardamom, saffron, and nuts. The mixture is then shaped into small balls or disks, which are often garnished with additional nuts or silver foil. These round flavour bombs are of sweet, nutty and buttery flavours, and eating laddu can be a delightfully messy experience! The crumbly texture can cause bits of the dessert to scatter with every bite, and the sharp aroma of cardamom makes for an addictively spicy profile!
While the basic ingredients for laddu generally don’t change, there are regional variations in preparation and flavour. For example, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, laddu is made with jaggery (unrefined sugar) and sesame seeds, while in the northern state of Punjab, laddu is often made with gram flour and garnished with almonds or pistachios.
In Singapore you can find a plethora of well-established confectioneries that serve a variety of laddu, and the Sweet Spots guide can definitely point you in the right direction! Ultimately, it’s well worth trying out any variation you can find – it’s not everyday that you can taste two thousand years of history!