Boondi Laddoo Sweet Balls
Pandeji Mithaivallah in Roorkee
Pictures from a Sweet maker in Roorkee in India
There is no English translation of the word Boondi in Boondi laddoos, that will truly describe them. They are sweet balls made of tiny besan boondi (gram flour or chickpea flour pearl like balls) soaked in sugar syrup and mixed with pistachios and fine melon seeds. They are sometimes called as Moti-choor laddoos, the word moti meaning pearl. They can be flavoured with green cardamoms or saffron.
Laddoos are made on all special occasions in north India. They are an integral part of wedding sweets given to all guests. They are distributed after prayer meetings and children are often given one laddoo and some yoghurt, to eat just before the exams, to bring them good luck. What it actually does is bring the blood sugar level up for the nervous child who has probably skipped breakfast, thus increasing their power of concentration! Size can vary. Makes 24 average sized laddoo.
For Boondi Batter
250 gm besan or Bengal gram flour or chickpea flour
1 pint/500 ml. water to make batter
A pinch of baking powder
350 gm. sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp. milk
A few drops of orange/yellow colour
To make laddoos
1/2 tsp. green cardamom powder
2-3 tbsp. raw pistachios (not salted ones), blanched and finely chopped*
2-3 tbsp. melon seeds
1/2 litre Ghee or sunflower oil for deep frying boondi**
*Soak is warm water for an hour or two and then rub the skin off. To peel large quantities of pistachios, sweet wallahs in India place them on a metal plate placed on charcoal and rub them gently. The skin peels off easily.
**A round spatula perforated with small round holes, also described as a skimmer ladle or Jhari/Jharrai or Jaro in Hindia. When I first came to UK ;in the late 60s, there werent as many Indian shops as now. I could not find one, so improvised; for years, I used yoghurt pots with holes made in their bottom, using a hot skewer. They worked quite well. You can choose the size of skewer to suit the size of boondi you want.
Make a batter of dropping consistency with besan or Bengal gram flour, baking powder and water, beat it will to make it light.
Heat oil in a wok or karahi to a moderate heat. A drop of batter in oil should sizzle and rise to the top, but there should not be any smoke.
Holding the skimmer or spatula with holes about 6 inches from the oil and place a ladle full of batter on top of it. Tap it gently with your other hand, so that the small, round blobs (boondi) fall into the oil. If you tap hard or press with a ladle, you get elongated blobs, rather then round pearls.
Fry until they are a pale gold, but not brown, and crispy. Make all boondies like this and keep aside.
Now make the syrup by heating sugar and water together. If a scum forms, add a little milk, which will bring it all to the surface. Skim it off.
Cook syrup until it is of one wire consistency. Turn heat OFF and add the orange colour or a few strands of saffron. Boondi are a golden yellow colour.
While syrup is cooking, add pistachios, melon seeds and cardamoms to the boondi. Mix well.
Add boondi to the hot syrup and mix well, but gently, so they dont break. Keep aside until boondies are cool enough to handle, but not completely cold.
Pick up a small ladle or a heaped tablespoon full of boondies in oiled palms and make round laddoos, firming them as you turn them around. Place them on thalies or trays.
Once cold, you can decorate them with silver film or varak or very finely shredded pistachios.
If kept in airtight containers, they will last a couple of weeks at room temperature.