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N & N


United Kingdom


Our South Indian recipes

Sweet Sesame Seed Balls (Ellu Urandai)

Neeru Ravi

We love finding parallels between South Indian cuisine and others - you've already heard us making the comparison between miso soup and rasam, borscht and beetroot sambhar, rice pudding and pongal, lattes and paysams...

This time, we're matching Middle Eastern and South Indian sweets. Both regions have their own version of sweet sesame desserts. The Middle East has Halva, a creamy sweet fudge made with tahini (a sesame seed paste) and sugar. In South India, we have Ellu Urandai:  a crunchy sesame seed ball made by mixing sesame seeds with an unrefined sugar syrup (made from jaggery). 

The inspiration for creating our inventive spin on Ellu Urandai came when our friend recently introduced us to the divine combination of dates dipped in  tahini. Together, these two iconic Middle Eastern ingredients - sweet, succulent, fruity dates and rich, decadent, nutty tahini  - are a match made in dessert heaven.

As we sat there munching on this combination, we started wondering.... what would Ellu Urandai taste like if we subbed dates for sugar syrup, and added tahini for extra sesame flavour? Obviously we couldn't rest until we had tried it...and boy were we were blown away by the results! We reckon these Ellu Urandai are even better than the traditional ones.

The tahini adds creaminess and intensifies the sesame flavour, the dates bring softness and natural sweetness, and the toasted sesame seeds add that iconic Ellu Urandai crunch!

With only 3 simple ingredients, this recipe couldn't be easier to make – puree the dates, toast the sesame seeds, and mix with the tahini!

This plant based dessert is one of those unbelievable dishes - where you can't quiet comprehend how something so delicious and tasty is made entirely of natural ingredients. No refined sugar, no artificial flavours or added fat. 

So go ahead, indulge guilt-free ! 

Test, taste and tell us what you think,

N & N 

Makes: 15 pieces

Time: 15 mins


1/4 cup tahini

15 pitted dates

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds


  1. Puree the pitted dates with the tahini until smooth.
  2. Toast the sesame seeds over a low heat until lightly brown -keep a very close watch as they burn very easily!
  3. Mix 1/3 cup of the sesame seeds with the date and tahini mixture - don’t puree, we want to keep the crunchy texture!
  4. Spread the remaining toasted sesame seeds on a plate.
  5. Roll the date, tahini and sesame seed mixture into 1-2cm diameter balls and roll in the toasted sesame seeds to form a crunchy outer coating.

Munch away.