With this week’s health topic being all about saffron, I thought it was a great time to share one of my favorite saffron recipes! Laddus are traditional Indian cookies that are small, yet very sweet and satiating. Besides their deliciously creamy taste, these sweet treats are exceptionally easy to make using only the heat of the stove top, meaning no baking needed! This particular laddu recipe utilizes not only the blissfulness of saffron, but also brings a unique quality by using chickpea (besan) flour as a base. This not-so-common ingredient addition increases the health benefits further providing us with a grain-free, gluten-free and guilt-free dessert!
Saffron is well known for its ability to boost the mood, promoting happiness, peace, love and compassion. It is considered an energizer, rejuvenative and powerful antioxidant making this treat as nourishing as it is delicious. Combined with the appetite sustaining, protein-packed power of chickpea flour, you will easily be able to curve your sweet tooth with only a cookie or two, creating energy and happiness rather than guilt, heaviness or lethargy (say like that bowl of ice cream).
Health Benefits of Saffron
- Rejuvenates the vital tissues
- Balances all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha)
- Promotes happiness, peace, love and compassion
- Boosts the mood
- Reduces sadness, grief, depression, anxiety, anger and other emotional imbalances
- Nourishes the reproductive system
- Increases fertility and libido (both men and women)
- Beneficial for healing the uterus during the postpartum period
- Beautifies the complexion (both internal and external use)
- Treats skin disorders such as acne, eczema, vitiligo and hyper-pigmentation
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces pain including nerve, lumbar (lower back) and rheumatic pain
- Alleviates headache
- Increases heart health
- Reduces cholesterol levels
- Stimulates circulation
- Builds the blood, beneficial in anemia
- Powerful anti-aging, antioxidant properties
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
- Excellent protein source
- Incredible source of fiber, manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron and zinc
- Excellent source of Vitamins B’s and folate
- Provides appetite control and sustained hunger
- Lowers LDL cholesterol, overall cholesterol and triglycerides
- Regulates blood sugar
- Supports colon, digestive and heart health
A few other mentionable ingredients include the addition of ghee, shredded coconut and numerous decadent, aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and turmeric. I decided to use maple syrup rather than cane sugar as I enjoy the taste much more, and do not get a weird energy crash after eating it (as I often do with white sugar). All and all this amazing Saffron Spiced Laddu Recipe is the perfect blend of health, bliss and sweetness!
Saffron Spiced Laddu Recipe
- Doshic effect: Vata ↓↑*,Pitta ↓, Kapha↓↑*
- Makes: 20 to 25 cookies
- Prep Time: 15 to 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Gluten-free, Grain-Free
- Vegetarian (can be made vegan)
*May increase Vata and Kapha in excess, please see the optional doshic variations below the recipe to make it more Vata and Kapha friendly.
- Large, deep sauté pan
- Mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Measuring cup and spoons
- Spice grinder or mortar and pestle
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, finely ground
- 1 tablespoon cashews, finely ground
- 3/4 cup ghee
- 2 cups chickpea flour (sometimes called besan or gram flour)
- 1 teaspoon Ayurvedic Breakfast Spices
- 1 teaspoon saffron (about 1/2 gram), freshly ground
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, for topping
- 20 extra saffron stigmas, for topping (optional)
*The Ayurvedic Breakfast Spices can be replaced with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 1/8 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp turmeric and 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder.
1. Grind the cashews and the coconut in a spice grinder or blender and set aside until needed.
2. Place a deep sauté pan over medium heat and add in the ghee.
3. Once the ghee has melted completely, reduce the heat to a low-medium setting and stir in the chickpea flour.
4. Stirring the flour continuously, cook here for 7 minutes.
5. Add in the ground cashews and coconut. Stir these ingredients together until they are evenly blended. Continue to cook here for another 3 to 5 minutes or until the chickpea flour has become light brown in color and gives off a great aroma.
6. After the flour has been properly sautéd, place the batter into a large mixing bowl. Let it cool in the refrigerator for 5 minutes. The dough will be at a touchable temperature once it is ready.
7. Add in the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, ground saffron, and maple syrup. Stir well until the entire mixture is evenly blended.
8. Take a small amount of the dough and roll it into a ball (just smaller than the size of a golf ball). If the mixture is sticky, then try to wet your hands for a smoother roll. If the mixture is crumbly, more melted ghee or maple syrup can be added in very small increments.
9. Place these small balls onto a plate when they are finished.
10. Once the batter has been used up, place 1/2 cup of shredded coconut in a small bowl. Roll each ball into the coconut, coating them evenly around the entire surface and then place them onto a plate.
11. Once the cookies have all been covered, place an extra stigma of saffron onto each laddu (optional).
12. Before eating, let the laddus cool at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, or place them into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The finished cookie should not be sticky, gooey or fall apart, but firm with a creamy softness (similar to a truffle).
13. Enjoy these sweet laddus as a dessert, an energizing snack, or a mid-day pick-me-up. They are balancing for all bodytypes and are great during times of low energy, poor mood, or general depletion.
14. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 7 days or in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
Ingredient tip: If you are not familiar with where to find chickpea flour, you can find it at an online market such as Thrive Market or Amazon. Otherwise, you can replace the chickpea flour with equal amounts of whole wheat flour, coconut flour, or almond flour.
Optional Doshic Variations
Although chickpeas are said to be Vata-provoking, every other ingredient in this recipe is Vata-reducing making this recipe overall balancing for Vata when eaten in moderation. With this being said, if the chickpea flour is increasing your Vata causing gas, bloating or the like, one can replace this ingredient with wheat flour, almond flour, or coconut flour as needed.
This recipe is overall Pitta-reducing and should not need any changes. However, if your Pitta becomes increased from the warming spices, it is recommended to reduce the breakfast spices to 1/2 teaspoon and cut the amount of saffron in half. The cashews can be heating as well and can be replaced with extra shredded coconut.
Chickpeas are great for reducing Kapha and are grain free, gluten free, and filled with appetite sustaining fiber and lean protein. However the ghee, maple syrup, coconut, and cashews are Kapha increasing and modifications may be needed. To avoid provoking your Kapha, reduce the ghee to 1/2 cup, replace the maple syrup with honey, and the coconut and cashews should be omitted. The spices are great for stimulating the digestive fire and can all be used generously!