Mithai Ladoo | Boondi Laddu
Prep time: 10-15 mins | Frying time: 15-20 mins | Assembling time: 15 mins | Yield 17-18 big or 25-26 small laddoos
Cup measure used: 1 cup = 240ml / 8 oz
For the batter:
- 3 cups (300 grams) gram flour / chickpea flour (besan/kadalehittu)
- pinch of baking soda (soda bi carb)
- pinch of salt
- a few drops of liquid yellow food colouring * see note#1
- 2 cups+3 tablespoons water (I used a total of 325 ml of water) * see note#2
- oil for deep frying
For the sugar syrup:
- 3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar * see note#4
- 1-1/4 cups water * see note#5
- 2 tablespoons raisins (cashew nuts are optional)
- 3-4 cardamom pods, husked and powdered
- 2 cloves, powdered or 3-4 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons ghee for frying
- 1. boondijarni (special perforated spatula to make boondis) OR a regular round perforated spatula
- a extra perforated spatula (to scoop out the fried boondis)
- rubber spatula or round spoon to spread batter over the boondi jarni
- large plates lined with kitchen tissues to place fried boondis
- small, deep frying pan
- pan to make the sugar syrup
1. Sieve the gram flour, salt & baking powder into a bowl and add 1-1/2 cups of water little by little and whisk or stir vigorously with a spoon until the mixture looks like dosa batter- this way you can prevent lumps from forming. Continue to add the rest of the water until you get a loose, flowy batter *see note#2
2. Add the food colouring 1-2 drops at a time and whisk until you get the desired colour. We used about 4 drops to get a bright yellow-custard like colour. Keep the batter aside.
3. Heat the oil for deep frying on a medium high heat. To test readiness of the oil dip the back of a spoon into the batter and hover it over the oil – if the drop falls easily into the oil and sizzles back up within a few seconds and holds perfect round shape, the batter and oil is perfect for frying.
4. Holding the boondi jarni at a height over the frying pan, pour some batter into it. Using the spatula or round spoon make circular motions to aid the batter to drop into the oil. Stop when the pan is sufficiently filled with the boondis – do not overcrowd the pan.
5. Using the spare perforated spatula give the boondis a quick mix and let them fry for not more than 12-15 seconds – we need them just cooked, not crisp. If they are too crisp they will not absorb the syrup and break when you form the laddoos. Remove the fried boondis onto a plate lined with kitchen tissue. Wipe the jarni clean with a kitchen tissue or wash and pat dry between batches if possible – this is done to unclog the jarni perforations (holes) as gram flour batter dries up quickly.
7. Continue frying the boondis till all the batter is used up. Make sure that the heat of the oil is maintained – not too hot, not too cool.
8. Next, make the sugar syrup by placing the sugar (3 cups) and the water (1-1/14 cups) in a pan, stir only until the sugar is dissolved. After that let the mixture come to a rolling boil. Check for 2 string consistency by dipping the spoon into the syrup and dab a drop of it with your index finger. Press this drop of syrup between your index finger and thumb. If it forms two strings, without breaking, your syrup is ready. Remove pan from heat. see note#6 & 7
9. Transfer the boondis into this hot syrup, add the flavouring – cardamom powder and cloves (or powder) and give it a gentle mix – don’t use too much pressure or you could crush the boondis. Let them soak up the syrup until the mixture is cool enough for you to handle. You must shape the laddoos when the mixture is still reasonably hot.
10. In the meanwhile heat some ghee in a small pan and fry the raisins till they turn golden – quickly remove them before they burn and add them to the boondi mixture. Alternatively you may place just one or two raisins on top of each laddoo while shaping them.
11. To shape the laddoos, grab a handful of the hot mixture and give it a gentle but firm squeeze. The excess boondis will fall off after which you can press the mixture lightly into a round shape. Place a raisin/nut on top if desired. Continue until all the mixture is used up.
12. Once cooled completely store them in airtight containers.
Tips to make the perfect boondis:
1. The addition of the pinch of salt to the batter is optional but I always like to add a bit salt to sweets as it helps balance the sweetness
2. There are usually two varieties of chickpea flour available in the market. The texture (fine or coarsely ground) will determine how much water is required to make a flowy batter of dripping consistency. The idea is to get a batter that is thin enough to form droplets when released from a height into the hot oil. If the batter is too thick the shape of the boondi will be ovalish or having tails. If the batter is too thin it wont form shape at all. While making the batter don’t add all the water in one go. You may not need all the water mentioned in the recipe, use just enough to get a flowy batter.
3. Resist the urge to eat the boondis as soon as they are fried. Addictive as they are you may end up eating too many and not have enough for the laddoos 🙂 – which also means that the boondi-sugar syrup ratio can get messed up and the mixture will be too sticky to be shaped (true story!)
5. To make a syrup of 2 string consistency you need water that is half the volume of the sugar minus a little. Make sure you measure out accurately.
What is 1 string / 2 string consistency? When sugar and water dissolves and begins to boil it turns glossy and bubbles are formed on the surface. The boiling process helps thicken the liquid further. 1 string consistency of syrup is achieved when you take a drop of syrup and press it between your thumb and index finger. If it forms a single thread without breaking, your syrup has reached 1 string consistency. This is required in the preparation of pedas and burfis (badam, pista, kaju) – where the bite is not hard. When you continue boiling the syrup further it thickens some more and if you press a drop of it between your thumb and index finger two strings will form. This is 2 string consistency which is required in the preparation of boondi laddoos. Read more here
Once 2 string consistency is achieved the sugar thickens further and quickly begins to crystallize (turns into a thick granular, opaque paste)
6. Some people make the sugar syrup first but if you are a novice at this and you take too much time to fry the boondis the sugar will crystallize as it begins to cool and will form a sugary glaze on the laddoos
7. For the syrup to thicken and turn into a 2 string consistency it will take you anywhere between 8-10 mins (for this quantity), have patience and give it your undivided attention. Once it reaches the desired consistency you need to take the pan off the heat quickly or the syrup will begin to crystallize. To prevent crystallization, brush the sides of the pan (edges close to the syrup) with plain water.
8. Some people like to add only the required amount of syrup to the boondi instead of adding all the boondi directly into the syrup – you can try this method if you are uncertain of the 1 string – 2 string consistencies of the sugar syrup. You can top up with the syrup if you feel it is required to help the mixture hold shape.