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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Tower of the Beautiful Boondis

Meethe Boondi, Mishti Bonde, small fried balls of chickpea flour dipped in sugar syrup

First of all I will tell you what are ‘Boondis’- well basically they are a sweet snack, they are prepared from a mixture of Besan/Chickpea flour and water, then deep fried in oil, then dipped in a sugar syrup, so the result is numerous crispy tiny balls coated with sugar syrup or often they are also soft n coated with sugar syrup. Whether they are crispy or soft one thing is common about them, that are they are just delicious in both ways, there is something about the flavor of the besan, the flavor of the oil, the sugar syrup absorbed inside, the crunch and the softness that is addictive. We just wanna keep on munching at very short intervals. Ha-ha.

This is one of my sweet favorites right from childhood, I think first of all it is the appearance that attracts everybody to boondis, the numerous small yellow balls hold together at times by a light coating of sugar syrup or the shiny soft balls that is indeed tempting. When we taste after the visual bite there is a satisfying feeling, they are not very sweet, moderately sweet.  

When I was a kid my dad would sometimes bring boondis/bonde from the sweet shop on his way back home from office or market and my elder sister n I would kinda jump on them-mostly we used to eat them on their own or at times we would eat the boondis with Luchi/Puri, crispy puffed rice known as ‘Muri/Murmure/Mamra’ and at times with rotis. The boondis that my father used to bring from the shops were always soft n shiny and we will mix them with crispy muri, which was such a play of texture, the soft boondis and the crispy puffed rice…let me say yummm... Try the boondis with paratha and you will also lick your fingers.

Still to this day when my elder sister/didi visits us, often she goes to the sweet-shop and she comes back with packet of soft boondis, she loves it now equally if not even more! My mother she loves the old way when she combines them with the crispy puffed rice.

Making boondi is rather easy, it is not very hard at all, in fact there are some crucial steps which if not done properly will make it go wrong, here I will tell you about them, so let me say this again, making boondi is easy. First of all the mixture of the chickpea flour/besan with water has to be beaten well with a ladle or whisk, you have to beat the mixture for about 10 minutes totally in 2 stages. Secondly the mixture of the besan n water has to be light n not thick, if it is thick the boondis will tend to have a tail with them and they will be quite hard, so keep the batter light that easily pours from the ladle, so thin consistency. Thirdly the oil has to be moderately hot, when we will place a drop of batter in the oil it should come floating to the surface of the oil in about 5-7 seconds, if the oil is lower in heat them the boondis will absorb a lot of oil and they won’t come to the surface in that time, if the oil is too hot then immediate they will go brown and before you can take them out they will go dark brown, so moderate heat and low to medium flame. Keep a big slotted spoon at hand which is called ‘Jhanjhri’ in Hindi in hand, in fact keep 2, one to produce the drops of boondi and one to take them out of the oil.

So let’s get making them! Here is the simple recipe.

For The Recipe: You will need
For The Boondis:
Chickpea Flour/Besan- 2 cups
Water- about 3/4 cup
Salt- tiny pinch
Vegetable oil- 1 ½ tsp
Vegetable oil-4 cups for frying

For The Sugar Syrup:
Sugar- 2 cups
Water-1 -1 ½ cup

To serve: Fresh Pomegranate seeds

1. First of all in a bowl add the besan, half of the water and with a ladle mix the besan so that there are no lumps , if you add all of the water at once you will have a hard time finishing off the small lumps in the watery batter, so add little water while the batter is tight n make the batter go smooth in that condition , then add some more water, make it go smooth again, then some more do the same, add the pinch of salt, mix well. Now the consistency has to be thin pouring consistency, so the amount of water I have mentioned may vary.  When you drop the batter from a height it should fall freely, test the batter by pouring a ladle of batter on the slotted spoon and drops of the batter should fall from it freely at almost one second or half second intervals. If the batter is thick the boondi will be hard and they will tend to have an elongated part with them-the tail. So the batter will be on the thinner side, not thick. When the batter is at this consistency whisk the batter for about 5-6 minutes, then rest the batter for 10-15 minutes more.

2. Let’s make the sugar syrup, so in a pan or wok add the sugar n the water, on a low heat stir this until all the sugar melts, then increase the heat to medium and give it about 3-5 minutes, after 3 minutes check the syrup by placing a drop of syrup on plate and test it with your 2 fingers, and it should feel slightly sticky like honey. So after 3 -5 minutes if you find the syrup has gone a bit thick n has become like honey, put off the flame and remove it from the flame.

3. In meantime when the batter is resting, heat 4 cups of oil in a big, kinda shallow wok/kadai or pan, make sure that the wok or pan is not deep; we need more surface area so that we can pour a lot of boondis at one time. If the pan is deep n small then we will have to fry the boondis in many batches. So heat the oil on a medium flame till it is moderately hot, test by dropping a drop of the batter and it should come floating to the surface in 5-6 seconds and also see if the boondi is round in shape.

4. After 15 minutes add 1 ½ tsp of oil in the batter and whisk it in, whisk the batter again for 5-6 minutes well. This whisking is important. So now we are ready for making the boondis. Take the slotted spoon and pour a ladle full of batter on the slotted spoon and you will see that tiny drops are falling on the surface of the hot oil and moving away to the rim of the wok, take another ladle full of batter n do the same. Do it until the whole surface of the oil is almost filled with little drops of the batter. Give them a minute then with another slotted spoon move around the tiny balls and flip them lightly in the oil. When the balls start to go light brown n crispy take them off with the slotted spoon and place them in the sugar syrup.

5. Now we will make the next batch, so make sure the oil is not cold or too hot, then do the same as before to make the boondis, and after about 1 ½ to 2 minutes when they are light brown n crispy take them out and place them on the syrup. Keep the boondis in the syrup for about 10-15 minutes, then take them off on a plate and now you can munch on and share with your loved ones or hated ones just to make them love you! Combine them with fresh pomegranate seeds and see the magic of both of them together!  So please enjoy and keep the smile on. Bon Appetit!

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