Maa Laadu is a simple yet delightfully satisfying laddu made out of Pottu Kadalai or Roasted Bengal gram dal flour, sugar, ghee, a speck of cashewnuts and a touch of cardamom.


The ‘Maa’ in this case refers to flour, but I’d like to dwell on the more ubiquitous definition of Maa – Amma or Mother. There are two people I call Amma (is there a bigger blessing?). One Amma delivered me and life delivered the other one to me when I got married. And let me tell you, both of them take their jobs very seriously. Oh yes, they do! If my life were a book, then they’d be the bookends holding me in place, bracketing me with love, and standing strong for me to lean on!

If one amma has set me up on a solid foundation, the other one has been the building blocks. One Amma is my quiet strength and the other my confidence. One Amma has helped me define boundaries, the other one encourages me to push them. One of them is firmly rooted while you’d often catch the other one take wing.

They’re also similar in many ways. They’re both very strong, like a tea bag-in-hot water kind of strong. Both of them are amazing cooks. So much of what I cook and document here, I’ve learned from them. Their cooking style is witness to their different personalities. One is restrained, mellow, and largely traditional. The other bold, adventurous, and somewhat traditional.

Two Ammas , two different styles, but one common motive – To nourish and Love!

This Navarathri while the world celebrates the power and strength of Maa Durga, I’m celebrating the very same qualities in my two leading ladies – Amma and Amma with some “Amma”zing Maa Laadus!

RECIPE FOR MAA LAADU – Makes 15 laddus


  1. Pottu Kadalai/Bengal Gram Dal – 1 cup
  2. Sugar – 3/4 cup
  3. Ghee – about 1/2 cup
  4. Cashews – 2 tbsps, finely chopped
  5. Cardomom powder – 1/4 tsp


  1. Place the pottu kadalai in a heavy-bottomed vessel. On a medium flame, gently roast the dal until it get hot. About 2-3 mins. Turn off the flame.
  2. When it cools down, transfer to a blender and pulse a few times. Add the sugar and blend until it turns in to a fine powder. Transfer to a large plate
  3. Heat a tsp of ghee from the quantity mentioned above. Toast the cashews. Add to the ground pottu kadalai + sugar mixture. Add the cardamom powder. Mix well.
  4. Warm the ghee until it turns in an amber liquid.
  5. Now take a little mixture to the side of the plate. Drizzle just enough ghee to be able to make laddus. Do not douse the mixture with ghee. Repeat this process until all the dry mixture has been turned into laddus.


  1. Make sure that the cashew is evenly distributed in the dry mixture. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of cashews in one laddu and none in the other.
  2. I had 2 tbsps of ghee leftover after making all the laddus.
  3. Make the laddus when the ghee and dry mixture are warm

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