Happy Diwali to my readers and friends who celebrate the Indian Festival of Lights. May the new year bring you and your family prosperity, good health, and happiness.
When I walked into my local Indian grocery store the shelves were full of Indian sweets. My mouth was watering and memories of my time in India flooded my mind. I remember oil lamps on the porch of almost every home, firecrackers lighting the skies, children dressed is new outfits, neighbors sharing sweets with each other, and the aroma of wonderful sweets being prepared wafting in the air. Right then I decided to make boondi ladoos and bought all the ingredients I needed and headed for my kitchen.
Boondi ladoos are not the easiest to make but if you have patience, pay close attention to the measurements of the ingredients, read the instructions and notes carefully, you too can make boondi ladoos that you can enjoy and share with your friends. You will also need a boondi maker (to make the small balls, which are called boondi in Hindi, that collectively make each ladoo) or a skimmer – a flat ladle with holes in it to make the boondi. The Indian grocery stores in the U.S. carry it. I added a twist to the fragrance and taste of these boondi ladoos with orange blossom water and red rose water. I hope you will enjoy my version of boondi ladoo.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
For the boondi:
2 cups Bengal gram flour, (besan)
1 pinch of baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 pinch of orange food color powder, (optional)
1¼ cups water
Oil for deep frying
2 tablespoons lightly roasted melon seeds
1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
For the syrup:
2 cups sugar
1½ cups water
2 pinches of orange food color powder, (optional)
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon red rose water
1 teaspoon of cardamom powder, (optional)
Sift gram flour, baking soda, salt and food color into a large bowl. Add half the water and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the water a little at a time and stir until the batter is smooth. The batter is the right consistency when it drops through the holes of the skimmer easily. Let the batter rest while you make the syrup.
In a large pan combine sugar and water and boil for 15 minutes over medium heat. Brush the sides of the pan with water as it is boiling, so that the sugar does not crystallize and use a candy thermometer. The syrup is ready when the thermometer reads 220 F. Another way to check whether the syrup is ready, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, is when you touch a drop of cooled syrup between your forefinger and thumb, a thin string is formed. Turn off the heat. Add food color, orange blossom water, rose water, and cardamom powder. Add the melon seeds and stir well.
Heat oil in a wok to 350 F. Pour a small amount of batter on the skimmer and tiny droplets of the batter will fall through the holes in the skimmer, into the oil, and form boondis. Hold the skimmer about two inches from the oil to form round boondis. Of course, you need to be careful when you do this. As soon as the bubbles stop forming around the boondis (the boondis should not be crisp and turn brown) drain the oil with a slotted ladle and put them into the syrup. Stir them every time you put a new batch of boondis into the syrup.
Mix until all the boondi and melon seeds are well coated with syrup. When the mixture is cool enough to handle make ladoos. Garnish with chopped pistachios.
– If the batter is too thick the boondi will be flat. Add a few drops of water at a time to get the batter to the right consistency so the boondis will be round.
– Hold the skimmer about two inches from the oil, otherwise your boondi will have tails.
– You will see black specks on the ladoos if you add cardamom powder. So you can avoid that by just using the orange blossom water and red rose water.
– Start making the ladoos as soon as possible. If you let the mixture get cold you will not be able to form ladoos.
– You can also put the boondi and syrup mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle and run it for about five minutes. If the mixture does not come together to form a ball, add 5-6 tablespoon of boiling hot water, while the mixer is on and run it for another five minutes.