Til ke laddu or sesame ladoos are traditional Indian sweet balls made with sesame seeds, jaggery and cardamom powder. These sweet balls not only taste delicious with a nutty aroma but are also rich in iron & calcium. Sesame ladoos are known by different names – til ladoo, ellu urundai, ellu unde or nuvvula undalu.
These are most commonly made in the Indian households during festivals like Sankranti, Ganesh Chaturthi and even Navaratri. There are numerous recipes to make til ladoo.
In this post I have shared 2 recipes to make them. The first one is made by boiling jaggery syrup until a soft ball consistency is achieved. Then the dry roasted sesame seeds are added & rolled to small balls. These are most commonly made in many states during Sankranti festival.
As part of the festive celebrations til ladoos are exchanged among friends & relatives.
This first one is not a beginner’s recipe as it needs understanding the syrup consistency. Secondly the mixture has to be rolled when it is still hot. Handling the hot mixture is the most difficult part of making these ladoos.
So if you are a beginner or new to cooking then the first recipe is not for you. I have the second one here which is super easy to make in less than 25 mins.
It is a traditional recipe from Andhra cuisine. These sesame ladoos have a melt-in-the-mouth texture and taste extremely delicious with a unique nutty aroma.
These are also offered to the deities during festivals as naivedyam. Most Telugu speaking households also make these often for their growing kids as they are nutritious.
Making these healthy & delicious balls is super easy, even for a newbie. You can make them all alone without any help.
Skip this preparation section if using white hulled sesame seeds.
1. If using unhulled sesame seeds, add them to a large bowl filled with water. Rub them very well with both your hands and drain the water. You will see some amount of hull floating over the water, just drain it off.
Repeat rubbing and rinsing 3 to 4 times discarding all the hulls floating on top. Then the last time drain to the colander and spread them well to drain the water completely.
Spread & air dry the sesame seeds on a dry cloth (preferably white) until the excess moisture dries off. This just takes about 30 mins.
Roasting sesame seeds
2. Add them to a wide and heavy bottom pan. Begin to roast on a medium heat, stirring continuously until they begin to crackle or splutter. They also turn crunchy at this stage. Do not roast them for too long or until they brown as they tend to turn bitter quickly. Transfer to a wide plate immediately.
Note:When done you will begin to get a aroma. Some sesame seeds do not splutter so do not wait for too long. Remove them when they turn crunchy.
Recipe 1 – Making til ke laddu
3. Add jaggery to the same wide pan and pour 2 tbsps water. Do not melt it straight without water. Some kinds of jaggery will burn and leave a unpleasant flavor.
4. This is optional and you may skip if you don’t prefer. When the jaggery melts completely, I filter it to another bowl to remove the dust particles. I rinsed the pan and poured back the syrup here to the same pan.
5. Continue to cook the syrup stirring often. After a while it reduces in volume, turns thick & frothy. Meanwhile keep aside – a small bowl half filled with water.
6. When you think the syrup is ready, reduce the flame completely and pour a tsp of jaggery syrup to the bowl of water. The syrup should stay in there without dissolving.
7. Remove it to check the consistency. Gather the jaggery. You should have a soft ball that turns firm upon cooling. Meaning it should neither be too soft nor too hard like a brittle. This is the stage at which I removed. It was past the soft ball stage and before the brittle stage.
The inner texture of the til ke laddu will depend on this jaggery consistency. If the jaggery ball is too soft, then the ladoos will have a soft texture inside and will stick to your teeth.
If the ball is hard and breaks like a brittle then it will be dry like a chikki.
8. You have to be quick at this stage and add sesame seeds. Mix well and let it cool down a bit. Meanwhile keep a wide bowl half filled with water. Dip your palms in water and scoop 1 tbsp mixture each time and begin to roll.
This isn’t an easy work. Please take care and keep immersing your hands in water to prevent burns.
You will have to finish making all the balls while the mixture is still hot. If you are unable to do it, then cook the mixture further for a min and spread on a greased plate or parchment paper. Cut while hot or warm.
Cool the til ke laddu completely.
Recipe 2 – How to make sesame seeds ladoo
1. Add the roasted sesame seeds to a blender jar.
2. Blend them to a powder. Do not over blend at this stage otherwise they will begin to release oil.
3. Add grated jaggery and cardamom powder.
4. Blend until you see the mixture turns greasy and has begun to release oil. Do not over do. Take handful of this mixture to check if it binds. If not blend it again until the mixture turns warm.
If you fail even then, add little more jaggery.
5. I added some roasted and skinned peanuts to this mixture. Stirred it with a fork. Take small portions of this mixture and press down with your palms to bind well. Bind them when the mixture is still warm.
Store sesame ladoos in air tight jar and use within 2 to 3 weeks.
Here are some tips that may help you:
Choosing sesame seeds: There are 2 kinds of sesame seeds in the market. The white ones are hulled, meaning the skin has been removed. These can be used directly after roasting. The light brown or light beige ones are the unhulled sesame which are slightly bitter. The unhulled seeds are richer in flavor, taste and nutrition.
If you are using this latter variety then you will need to rinse them rubbing very well to get rid of the bitter taste. I have shared more details in the recipe card notes.
Jaggery or sugar? The aroma of jaggery is great and is more nutritious. However you can also replace jaggery with sugar to make the til ke laddu or even til chikki. Refined sugar gives best results. Just melt the sugar on a very low flame until it is all liquid.
Turn off and then add a pinch of baking soda and then sesame seeds. Pour it over a parchment paper or greased plate. Cut while still warm.
Copra (dried coconut), peanuts, roasted fried gram make a wonderful combo along with sesame seeds in any dish. We usually add all of these to make different kinds of ladoos like this thambittu unde.
I did not add them this time. If you prefer to use them, substitute ¼ amount of the sesame seeds in the recipe with the same amount of crushed roasted peanuts and copra. More details in the recipe card notes.
Sesame seeds ladoo recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 100 grams sesame seeds
- 100 grams jaggery
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- ½ cup jaggery
How to make the recipe
Recipe 1 – Making til ke laddu
- On a medium to low flame dry roast sesame seeds in a heavy bottom pan stirring often.
- When done they will turn aromatic and begin to pop or splutter.
- Avoid over roasting as they tend to turn bitter quickly. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Take a small bowl with ¼ cup of water and keep it ready aside to check the syrup consistency.
- Heat jaggery in the same pan along with 2 tbsps water.
- Optional – Once dissolved you can also filter it to another bowl to remove the dust particles. Rinse the pan and pour back the syrup to the pan.
- Boil the jaggery syrup on a medium flame stirring often until it reaches a ball consistency.
- The syrup reduces, turns to deep color & turns frothy. To check add a tsp of the syrup to the bowl of water we prepared earlier.
- The syrup should stay in there in the bowl without dissolving. Gather the jaggery and make a ball. You should get a soft ball that turns firm upon cooling. It should not be too soft and should not turn to a brittle.
- If the syrup hasn't reached that consistency yet, continue to cook for few more minutes.
- When you get the correct ball consistency, turn off the stove.
- Add cardamom powder and sesame seeds. Mix well.
- Let the mixture cool down a bit. Then quickly dip your palms in water just to moisten and scoop out 1 tbsp of the mixture to your palm and shape to ladoo.
- Be quick at this stage and keep dipping your hand in water as needed to avoid burns.
- Roll the entire mixture to balls when the mixture is still hot.
- Cool the til ladoos completely and store in air tight jar.
Recipe 2 – how to make sesame ladoos
- Dry roast sesame seeds till you begin to get a nice aroma. Set these aside to cool.
- Meanwhile dry roast peanuts and cool them. Rub peanuts lightly with the bottom of a glass for the skin to become loose. Remove the skin and keep aside.
- Grind sesame seeds and jaggery together with cardamom powder to a fine powder
- Transfer this to a plate, add skinned peanuts and mix.
- Take small portions and roll them to balls
- Store sesame seeds ladoo in an air tight jar and handle with moist free hands.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
- If using unhulled sesame that taste bitter, add them to a large bowl filled with water. Rub them very well with both your palms and drain the water along with the floating hull or husk. Repeat the rinse thrice and drain them in a colander.
- Then air dry them on a clean cloth for 30 mins before roasting.
- If you feel you overcooked the syrup, just sprinkle little water and heat it up. It will melt and help you to adjust the consistency. You can do this even after adding the sesame.
- If you undercooked the syrup and by mistake have already added sesame, you can still cook the mixture to get the soft ball consistency.
- In case you are unable to roll the mixture to balls due to heat, then just cook the mixture for a few more minutes. Then pour it to a parchment paper and set it to chikki. Cut to squares when the mixture is still hot.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips.
Sesame seeds ladoo recipe originally published in September 2014. Republished in January 2020