Like I said in my previous post, boondhis adapt well to both sweet as well as savoury flavours. This is a sweet dish – a laddoo made by immersing the fried boondhi in sugar syrup, and lightly spicing it with cardamom and cloves. For crunch, we add fried cashew nuts, sugar candy and raisins. A common sweet made in Southern India, this is also part of the time tested seer-bakshanam list. Trust me when I say this is out-of-this-world delicious, and really easy to make! 😀
The crux of this dish is getting the sugar syrup right. The sugar syrup needs to be in the ‘one string’ consistency, which means that when you take a bit of syrup and press it with your thumb and index finger, it must form a single string. At this consistency, the sugar crystallises beautifully on the boondhi, giving it a matt sheen. While the boondhis are soaking in sugar syrup and warm, they are moist and easy to shape into laddus. Feeling lazy to make laddus? Sweet boondhi can be eaten as is, after it has cooled for about 15-20 minutes while soaking in the syrup. Take your pick! 😀
- Besan / Chickpea flour – 1 cup
- Water – 3/4 cup
- Cooking soda – a pinch
- Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
- Cloves – 2, or 1/4 tsp of powdered cloves
- Raisins – 8 to 10
- Cashewnuts – 4 to 5, broken into pieces
- Sugar candy / kalkandu (small) – about 1 heaping tsp
- Edible camphor (pacha karpooram) – a pinch
- Sugar – 1.5 cups
- Water – just enough to immerse the sugar fully
Making the boondhis
Add all the ingredients under ‘for the boondi batter’ list to a mixing bowl. Add water gradually, to make a batter that is slightly runnier than bajji batter consistency. Sieve the flour if necessary to remove lumps. I used my hands to mix the batter evenly without any lumps.
Heat oil in a kadai. Oil needs to get hot, but should not smoke.
Now dip a the stem of a steel spoon inside the batter and let it drop in the hot oil.
- If the boondhis develop a tail, then the batter is thick. Add water in teaspoons to dilute the batter a little. Test again until you get round boondhis.
- If the boondhis are flat and not round, then your batter is probably too runny. Add besan flour in teaspoons and mix well without lumps until batter is slightly thicker. Test again until you get round boondhis.
Take some batter in a deep ladle. Holding the perforated ladle in your left hand, drop the batter over the perforated ladle using your right hand.
Now slowly spread in circular clockwise motion over the ladle.The batter will drop from the holes in the ladle into the hot oil.
Keep the flame on medium throughout. Cook the boondhis until the ‘shh’ or sizzling sound ceases. For sweet boondhi laddu, no need to fry the boondhi until crisp. It will suffice to just fry them until cooked and barely golden. Drain into a vessel or on absorbent tissue paper. Repeat the process to finish up all the batter.
Combine sugar with just enough water to immerse it. Dissolve the sugar by stirring on medium flame. Allow to come to a boil.
Once the mixture starts boiling, keep stirring. In about 3-4 minutes, take a little bit of sugar in a ladle and press between your thumb and index finger. If you get one string between your fingers, syrup is ready. If not, boil some more and then check at 30-second intervals. This step is very important for the laddus to hold together.
Add cardamom & cloves powder, edible camphor (optional) to the sugar syrup and stir well to mix. Switch off stove.
Fry cashews and raisins in ghee – the cashews until golden and raisins until puffed up. Now add the fried cashews, raisins and sugar candy (kalkandu) to the boondhi.
Add this to the sugar syrup, and stir well with a ladle to incorporate everything evenly. Let this sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture will be very hot now, so we will allow it to cool down a bit and absorb the sugar syrup before we shape them into laddus.
Transfer the cooled mixture into a plate. As you can see, the sugar has already started crystallising, but the mixture will still be warm and the boondhis have enough moisture at this stage to hold together when we shape them into laddus.
Work quickly to shape them into laddus with clean and dry hands. Transfer to a clean dry plate, and then to an airtight container after sometime.
TIPS & TWEAKS
- No need to add salt or sugar in the batter. Sugar syrup will add enough sweetness.
- Allow boondhi to soak at least for 5 minutes. Move boondhi away from gas stove so it can cool down a bit while soaking.
- Edible camphor is optional, but recommended. Omit if you don’t have it.
- Store in an airtight container, will stay fresh for upto 10 days.
Try this and let us know your comments! 🙂