Boondi ladus’ have always amazed me. As a kid, I would dig into the box of sweets my dad would get from some sweet shops. I watched in amazement when the maharajs came over in our back yards for some functions for making all the sweets for the family. It was very interesting to check them making jalebis and tap tapping the boondis!! I love them as much as I love any mishti(bengali sweets)…very refreshing! As I write about mishti…I recently came to know that the sweet shop, near Gol Park( Mouchak) has closed down. I was sad on hearing the news, becuase i have so many childhood memories associated with the shop. My school bus always picked and dropped me at the corner. I use to window shop all the mishti’s there at the shop. I would beg for 50 paise to my parents to buy anghthi shondesh everyday at this shop. I wish this shop had remained for me to return some day.
I have had my adventures some very pleasant with other sweets and savouries of our Indian cuisine. Boondi I had never tried. Hence, I conjured up all my energy and motivation to make them last day. This is so because, I was prewarned by my mother- in- law that it is a tedious job and counts a lot of our patience. My word, I agree to each and every word of her.
It took me long 4 hours just to get the boondis’ right!! I did not think of the ladel I might need. I tried all the possible porous plates in my kitchen. Finally ended up choosing the plate used for Puran press….a tiny one…and never in my life will I suggest that to you!! I had to wash it after every spread of the batter. Either the batter clogged the holes or it was too sticky to handle. So my advice: GET A PROPER LADEL, BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT BOONDI LADUS’
Next was the batter, initially it was too thick to drop the boondis’ through the plate. When I tried thinning it with water, I had tadpolly boondis’..my son was amazed with the boondis swimming in the oil with their tails!! Switch off the gas and pour in more chickpea flour to thicken your batter…just enough to hold on the plate and to avoid boondis’ with tails!! Tip here is: GET THE CONSISTENCY RIGHT.
Hey, I am not trying to demoralise anyone of you. Just that I was not prepared and organised this time!! I do not want you to go through the same ordeal as I didI checked a book by Kamalabai Ogale, Ruchira, which my friend R had given me as a present when I got married. It had the simple recipe for boondi ladu. So here you are,
For the syrup:
Castor Sugar 2 cups
Water 1.5 cups
Saffron a pinch
Cardamom powder 1tsp.
Place all the ingredients in a vessel and make syrup. The syrup needs to be ½ thread consistency. Keep testing the syrup to check its consistency. To do this, dip a wooden spatula in the syrup and lift out. Allow to cool for a few seconds as it will be very hot at first. Now touch the syrup with a clean forefinger and then touch your thumb and forefinger together and pull apart gently. Keep boiling the syrup gently till you reach the consistency. Half-thread consistency is when a single thread is formed and breaks immediately when your forefinger and your thumb are pulled apart gently. Switch off the gas and keep the syrup vessel aside.
(Ruchira book suggests using milk to remove the scum from the sugar syrup when it starts to boil. If you are making these ladus’ in India, possibly you might have to use milk. Add a few drops of milk when placing the syrup vessel on heat. When the scum forms, carefully remove it from the syrup, before it simmers)
For Boondis’ you will need:
Chickpea flour/besan 2 cups
Water 1 cup
Ghee/oil 1 tablespoon
Oil for frying
You may use ground dry fruits like pistachios, almonds. Or just use some fried cashews or raisins.
Colour the batter with edible orange food colour or saffron.
Mix in water into chickpea flour, little at a time to avoid lumps. Add ghee or oil to improve it’s consistency. Add in the food colouring or saffron(if you are using saffron, use a part of water used for making the batter, to soak the saffron first)
Heat oil in a deep pan. Using a good ladel with grooves at the other end to assist good, round drops of batter. With a spoon, you may help in pushing the batter through the pores. Make sure you do this gently. Gentle pressure aids in better boondis’ . Fry them and place them in the syrup immediately. Fry up all the boondis’ in the batch of batter in the same fashion.
Let the boondis’ soak well in the syrup. The orange colour in boondis’ and the saffron in the syrups adds a lovely colour to the whole thing.
Once the boondis’ are well soaked, add in ground dry fruits. Rub your palms with a little oil/ghee and shape the boondis’ into ladus. It will come together as a round ladu, so do not lose patience, hold onto those little gems in your palm to create the jewel to relish.
This recipe should make 25 small ladus’. Tada….
However, difficult it might sound and look, I enjoyed it thoroughly. This goes for all the events on the blog world for Diwali special.