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  • Writer's pictureB.M. Allsopp

Do-it-yourself Diwali

The festival of light

It's just two weeks to Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by Fiji's Hindus and Sikhs. Although the religious observances honouring Goddess Lakshmi take place over five days, just one day is a public holiday in Fiji. This year, it's the 4th November. As I explained on a previous Diwali post here, all races and religions in Fiji are enthusiastic about Diwali. Perhaps one reason for this is the public holiday; another is the Diwali custom of giving home-made sweets to relatives, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. My first experience of Diwali at the University of the South Pacific (USP) was a thrill. Again, you can read about it here.

Easy Suji Ladoo (semolina balls)

I must confess I've never made Diwali sweets before . In Fiji, my generous Indian colleagues presented me with more than was good for my figure. Since returning to Australia, I've sometimes looked up recipes but they've seemed too complicated. A few days ago I found the one I'm sharing today, with permission from a wonderful site That Fiji Taste. These melt-in-your mouth balls are both sweet and spicy and the recipe is very simple. Let's compare notes after Diwali!

Suji Ladoo, courtesy of
  • 1 cup icing sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 2 cups fine Semolina (grind to powder if necessary)

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

  • 3/4 cup powdered milk

  • 1 – 2 cups ghee (Clarified Butter)

  1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat and stir the semolina in ½ cup of ghee (clarified butter) till slightly brown and aromatic. If you can't get ghee, you can use regular butter, but be careful it doesn't burn.

  2. Once the semolina is roasted, transfer it to a large basin

  3. Now add the rest of the ingredients (powdered milk, sugar, cardamom, nutmeg). Mix together and set aside to cool. [Note: Do not add the remaining ghee, it will be used to bind the ladoos later]

  4. Then add enough ghee to the mixture in small batches and roll into small balls. Adjust the ghee to the minimum amount needed to hold the ladoos together. [Note: If there is too much ghee, the ladoos will melt and won’t hold their shape. If there isn’t enough ghee, the ladoos won’t bind. It is a trial and error process to get the right amount needed, so keep at it even when it seems like it isn’t binding]

  5. Once rolled into spheres, stack the ladoos inside an airtight container and you can enjoy them fresh for a few weeks.

I'm going to give Suji Ladoo a go - I challenge you to join me!

P.S. I love to answer any questions about Fiji or my books from readers. Just leave a comment below, send me a message via the Contact page or email me at I warmly invite you to join our Fiji Fan Club below.

If you have friends interested in Fiji or Pacific islands in general, I encourage you to share this post.

I look forward to hearing from you!


B.M. Allsopp

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