|1 cup||Besan flour (kadalai maavu)|
|1 tsp||Rice flour|
|¾ cup||Water (for sugar syrup)|
|¾ cup||Water (for batter)|
|15 nos||Cashew nuts|
|3 nos||Cardamom (powdered)|
|3 pinch||Orange food colour|
|5 cup||Oil (for deep frying)|
Assemble all the ingredients that you need to prepare laddus. Always use the best besan flour, stale old flour will spoil the entire dish, use fresh flour and sieve along with rice flour and keep it aside. Sieving is very important, use a regular filter if you don’t have traditional Jalladai (Sieve). Break the cashews to small pieces, coarsely powder the cardamom.
There are specially designed slotted spoons for making laddus, the big one is the traditional laddu maker (Karandi) and small one is our regular kitchen slotted spoon. I’ve tried the big one and the boondis turned too big to handle, my hands were small and it was difficult to make laddus, guess those for professional use only. So, I decided to go with my humble Jalli Karandi (Slotted spoon).
Combine water, little ghee and sieved flour mixture adding 1 pinch of the food colour. Mix to form a thick batter, which should look like our bhaji bonda batter. Mix thoroughly to avoid lumps. Heat oil in a wide kadai, sample a few drops to check the oil temperature.
If the oil temperature is too hot then the boondis will turn brown. If its too low then the boondis will sink. fried boondis which float as shown will cook within seconds of dropping in oil. As soon you drop, it will vigorously bubble and when the bubbles stops, remove them immediately. We don’t need crispy boondis, our boondis should look slightly crispy on outside and soft on inside. This will make them soak better in syrup. (Something similar to Namuthu pona boondi / soft boondi).
If you are all set with the procedure, then start making. Hold the slotted spoon few inches above the oil, scoop little batter and slowly pour and press as shown. Soon the boondis will drop into the oil, just one scoop per batch, do not over crowd. As soon they are fried, put them into the prepared sugar syrup to soak.
Sugar syrup Preparation: Here comes the most important step, making of single thread consistency. Take a pan, combine sugar and water. Let it melt over medium high flame. It will bubble vigorously in 3 minutes. Somewhere between 4 to 6 minutes the single thread consistency happens. I’ve tried my best to show in picture, once you see the thread, switch off the flame and remove the pan to different place. Just follow the steps shown here.
All you need is a clear glass with cold water next to the boiling sugar syrup. When it crosses 3 minutes start testing with few drops.
When you drop the syrup it will melt if the stage hasn’t reached. Once you see a small but not sturdy line as shown its soft thread consistency (Ellam Kambi Paagu or Patham).
When the syrup form a long sturdy line or string as shown, this will not melt as you drop, goes straight to the bottom and settle. This is one string or one thread consistency. When you roll this string between your thumb and index finger, it should form a non sticky sugar ball. This is what we need for this recipe, switch off as soon this happens.
Another closer view of single thread consistency.
When the syrup is ready, add remaining 2 pinches of food colour, cloves and cardamom powder. After frying the boondis, immediately drop them in the syrup and soak for 30 minutes. Heat the ghee, toast the cashews and raisins and add this to the soaking boondis.
After 30 minutes, you have to start making laddus with your hands. Just press a handful and form a ball. It will be difficult to form a ball when it becomes cold, so start making while its still warm. If its cold then, slightly heat to make it warm.
Shape the laddus and let them stay to crystallize a bit. I would normally allow 45 minutes to set but if you cannot resist temptation, start eating them.
Yield: This recipe can yield about 12 laddus approx. Slightly bigger than golf ball.
Homemade laddus will not have perfect round boondis, usually they come with a small tail attached, boondis turn round only with traditional laddu maker spoon and needs little professionalism. Taste and texture-wise it turned out perfect.
Some of the common garnishes to laddu are Melon seeds (Vellari Vethai), Sugar crystals (Kalkandu), Chopped nuts, Cooking camphor(Rasa karpooram) and grated nutmeg and edible foil for decoration. These are optional.