Jun 1, 2016

Easy Rose, Coconut, and Cardamom Laddoos

cardamom, cardamom. Rooh Afza, coconut, condensed, Desi, dessert, easy, Indian, laddoos, milk, mithai, Recipe, rose, simple, sweetened,

These delicately flavored laddoos are elegant enough to serve as a dessert at a posh dinner party or holiday gathering yet easy enough to make for an after school treat. The classic Indian pairing of light rose, aromatic cardamom, and rich coconut is combined with milky sweetness in this dainty treat!

sweetened condensed milk mithai Desi sweet diwali eid

I first saw this recipe on a Nestle website featuring recipes for kids. It looked so easy I doubted it would really taste like mithai or the traditional milk-based sweets of South Asia. Was I ever pleasantly surprised! The can of sweetened condensed milk makes these taste just like the traditional laddoos made by the time-consuming process of reducing milk. This is such a great recipe to make with children, depending on age they can help with the brief cooking and mixing steps as well as have tons of fun rolling the mixture into balls and dredging them with coconut.

1 can sweetened condensed milk (390g)
3 C desiccated coconut
1 tsp butter or ghee
2 TBS rose syrup (or Rooh Afza)*
seeds of 9-10 green cardamoms, ground coarsely
1 drop coconut flavor (optional)
1 drop red food coloring (optional)
extra desiccated coconut to roll laddoos in

Here's what to do:
1) Combine 3 C desiccated coconut, can of sweetened condensed milk, rose syrup, ground cardamom seeds, coconut flavor, and butter or ghee in large heavy-bottomed skillet or kadhai and mix well.

2) Heat pan with mixture over a low flame stirring continuously. Keep stirring until mixture pulls away from the pan and forms a mass clinging to itself. This should take about 7-8 minutes at the most.

3) Remove pan from heat and transfer mixture to a heat proof bowl. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature or place in airtight container in the refrigerator for an hour. (I usually put it in the fridge as my family tends to "sample" whatever's out on the counter. I am told it is for "quality control" purposes. :::eye roll:::)

4) When cooled form tablespoonfuls into balls. I use a cookie scoop to get uniform amounts. Coat your palms with butter, ghee or coconut oil if mixture sticks to your hands.

5) Roll laddoos in desiccated coconut if desired. Refrigerate finished laddoos in an airtight container for 30 minutes before serving to set. These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe made 20 tablespoonful sized laddoos.

mithai traditional dessert sweetened condensed milk desiccated coconut

Helpful hints:
*If you don't have rose syrup or Rooh Afza you could use 1-2 drops of rose essence or 1 teaspoon of rose water plus 1 drop red food coloring for flavor. If you're not familiar with the iconic Desi sharbat syrup of Rooh Afza there's a post on my blog about it here.

If using freshly grated coconut increase amount to 4 cups and omit ghee or butter.
You can make many variations in flavors and colors with this recipe. I've made them with pistachios and saffron threads soaked in 1 TBS water for 20 minutes which came out a brilliant yellow. I've made them pure white by adding no flavor except for coconut essence. I've even made blue laddoos by adding curacao syrup.


  1. Oh man, my teeth ache just looking at that photo, but I'm sure they're delicious. And pretty.

    1. Hi Goody,
      Yes, they are very sweet as is the Desi tradition. Desserts and sweets are meant to be a palate cleansing single or double bite in South Asia- the perfect ending to a meal of rich spicy food or in celebration of some milestone or accomplishment. They also have to be pretty in the Desi tradition too!

  2. Oh, this reminds me of the 'rosy' version of Turkish delight, a treat the Great-Aunt passed on a doily-decorated silver plate while she poured out the after-dinner coffee. But what a good idea, tucking laddoos into a child's lunch box for the sweet! Perhaps on a stick like a popsickle?

    1. Hi Beth,
      These are chewy but not as chewy as Turkish Delight. Kids love making these & they're sooo easy!

  3. Normally I'm not a sweet tooth, I can take or leave chocolate and never ever eat dessert but put a box of Indian sweets in front of me and I can scoff the lot. xxx

  4. Bibi,thanks to you I am able to make (cook)few very nice Indian dishes.From now on I will make LADDOOS every week .Next week I will make Laddoos ,maybe twice a week till I became perfect.I have to get Rose Syrup

    1. Hi Hope,
      Yay! I'm so glad I've inspired you to cook Indian food. You can make just plain coconut laddoos by leaving out the rose syrup if you can't find it. I'm sure you'll get this recipe perfect the first time, no problem & it's super yummy too.


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