Happy Diwali to all!
I am writing a full post after a very long time; I just couldn't keep away from publishing a new post during Diwali season. Though I am still not able to prepare any fancy sweets this Diwali, I am posting the recipes of the goodies I prepared in the previous years and have not posted.
Boondi Laddu is a melt-in-the-mouth delicacy, prepared all over India in different ways (Unity in Diversity), the main difference being the size of the boondi or globules. The very first time I sent these laddus to my younger son in the US, he said it was a big hit with his American colleagues. They came again and again for these "sugary globules pressed into a ball" and went ga ga over it.
In the northern part of the country it is popularly known as motichoor laddu as the boondis they prepare are the size of small pearls, hence the name motichoor, moti meaning pearl in hindi.
In the South the boondis are slightly bigger. Laddus are a must in South Indian weddings and all other major functions like Upanayanam, Choulam, and the first birthday of the baby.
Laddus would not be prepared at home until a few years back; we had them only during marriages or upanayanams when we had cooks to come and prepare them. I started preparing them only when we were on our own and did not get the homemade laddus. I remember the first time we prepared these at home was in 1977. My brother was visiting us and I wanted to surprise my parents by sending homemade laddus to them. I do not know their reaction as we did not have instant communication those days like we have today.
Preparing the boondis is the most difficult part of making laddus. Once this has been mastered, the rest is not very difficult. I wish I could post a video of boondi making, later perhaps. One has to use a special ladle, a boondi jarni (a flat spoon with holes), which has an upturned rim so that the batter will not spill from the outer rim.
To the recipe now,
Bengal gram flour : 1 cup
Sugar : 3 cups
Oil : for deep frying
Food color (orange) : a few drops
Ghee : 4 tbsp
Cloves : a few
Pachakarpooram : one pinch
Saffron (optional) : a few strands
Cardamom powder : 2 tsps
Raisins : 2 tbsp
Cashew nuts (broken) : 2tbsp
Nutmeg powder : 1/2 tsp
Diamond shaped sugar candy: 2 tbsp
Boil the sugar with 2 cups of water. Remove the impurities by adding a little milk. Make a one string consistency sugar syrup and remove from stove. Add the saffron soaked in a little milk and a few drops of orange food color. Add the cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, pachakarpooram, kalkandu and crushed cloves.
Make a batter of pouring consistency by adding water to the besan.Whisk well so that there are no lumps. Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan (Some people use ghee to fry the boondis, but I prefer oil as the ghee solidifies to a sticky texture when it cools). When the oil is heated, hold the ladle (jarni) above the heated oil and pour one big spoonful of batter into the ladle. The batter will drop into the oil as little globules. Fry till they are cooked. They should not become crisp or they will not absorb the sugar. Remove and put in the sugar syrup. Repeat till all the batter is used up.
Heat the ghee in a small pan and fry the raisins and broken cashew nuts to a golden color. Pour over the boondis soaking in sugar syrup. Mix well. Make into balls of desired size.
Enjoy your Diwali with laddus!