Boondi ladoo sweet and Khara/spicy boondi

Boondi ladoo is my mom's favorite sweet. They are little ball shaped sweets made from flour and sugar. The procedure is the same for sweet and spicy boondi. Just the ingredients differ a bit. 

A good old friend Shaila, is the expert at making this, she was kind enough to share the recipe and techniques to perfect this art years ago, Thank you Shaila!

For the sweet boondi: Makes about 15-20 ladoos or 5 to 6 cups of boondi
1 cup gram flour ( besan )
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
pinch of salt
About 4 cups or more Vegetable oil
A large perforated ladle, one which has holes in it, so the batter can run through.

To garnish:
1/2 a cup or more Sliced nuts of your choice, I have used almonds.

A tsp of cloves, for aroma
1/2 cup of raisins, the more the merrier :-)

I prefer to retain the original light yellow color of besan when making the sweet boondi, and add a pinch of orange to make the spicy one.

Sieve the flour and add enough water to make the batter.

Oh the batter story!!!
This is the key to making great boondi. The batter should not be too thick that it cannot pass through the perforated sieve, nor should it be too runny that it runs like water. After you mix the batter, pour some on the ladle and see, if the batter runs through at a consistent interval, slow and steady, in droplets on its own, we are good. The batter should have the consistency of dosa batter or pancake batter. Set aside.
Downsides of bad batter -
Too thin, the batter will result in flat little discs, not puffed little balls.
Too thick, and the boondis will resemble tadpoles with tails.. lol, not round, and we do not want that. 

In a pan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in 3/4 cup water. Test the sugar syrup for string consistency. when you lift a spoon of syrup from the bubbling pot, it should leave a trail/string. Turn off the heat and set aside. It should stay at hands reach, so you can dunk the puffed boondis once they are fried.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. The oil should be really hot, try to pour a few drops of batter with a spoon to test it, When the batter springs back up foaming and sizzling, start making the boondis.

For this, take the perforated ladle, hold it right above the hot oil. Pour a cup of batter on to the ladle and gently tap the ladle on the edge of the oil pan so the droplets of batter fall into the oil like drizzling waterdrops or pearls. Take care not to over load the pan. When you can see no more of the oil, and the pan is filled with boondis, stop and take the ladle off. Keep it aside.

Fry the little boondis to a golden yellow, Strain them out of the oil and dunk them into the sugar syrup.

Repeat this process until you have finished all the batter. Make sure the syrup is warm. Toss all the boondis to coat them in the syrup. Sprinkle cardamom powder, cover and let them soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.

In the meantime, gently roast the nuts, cloves and raisins in oil or a tablespoon of ghee/clarified butter. Toss them over the boondis.

You can eat the sweet soaked boondis as is, or roll them into balls or laddoos.
To roll them, first dampen your hands in a bowl of warm water, take a handful of boondis in your palm, shape in into a ball with both hands, firmly. This is best done when the boondi is warm. Enjoy!

Spicy/khara boondi

For the khara boondi, you will need: Yields about 4 cups of boondi
1 cup Gram flour(besan)     
1/4 cup Rice flour     
A pinch of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp or more red chili powder
Use the same oil left over  after frying the sweet boondi, or use 4 cups of vegetable oil.

To garnish:
A few dry red chilies
A sprig of curry leaves
A few cloves of fresh garlic
1/2 cup or more nuts - peanuts and or cashews

In a  bowl, mix the gram flour, rice flour, baking soda, chili powder, all together and mix water to it to make a thick batter. Remember what I told you about the batter above!!

Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Repeat the same procedure as above to fry the boondis. Once they are golden, toss them on to a large shallow pan lined with paper to drain out the excess oil.

Finish out the entire batter. Turn off the heat. While the oil is still hot, toss in the peanuts, cashews, curry leaves, garlic and dry chillies to roast them. Drain them out and toss them with the spicy boondis.

Toss some warm boondi in your mouth to check for the spice and salt level, add some more salt and chili powder if you like. The salt will hold on, only if the boondi is warm.  Store it in air tight containers and chomp away as festival treats or snacks. Enjoy!