Deepavali, the festival of lights,for me was always surrounded by sweets and snacks. This is that time of year, when I venture out and try sweets that I have never made before. At the same time, I try to keep up to the tradition by making sweets that are common in South India.Kunjalaadu was something that I have always wanted to make, but always had some reason not to make it. I made sure I brought the Boondi plate (Jarani) from my previous visit to India. Been sitting in my basement for the past 8 months, I finally put it to good use yesterday. It was a wonderful experience to see the boondhis falling out of the plate. The recipe is time consuming but very simple and straight forward. I am sharing the recipe that I made yesterday and would love your comments.
Difficulty level – Intermediate
Preparation time – 15 mins
Cooking time – around 2 hrs
Ingredients to make Kunjalaadu – Makes around 70 medium laddu’s
- Besan (kadalai Maavu), Sieved – 2 cups
- Rice flour – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – 1tsp
- Sugar – 3 cups
- Salt – 1 pinch
- color (Yellow or orange) – a pinch
- Cashew, raisins – Few
- Nutmeg powder – 1/4tsp
- Clove powder – 1/2 tsp
- Ghee – 2 tsp
- Oil – for frying the boondhis
- kalkandu (Sugar candy) – 1/4th cup (Optional)
To make the Sugar syrup
- Take wide mouthed vessel and add the entire sugar with just enough water to cover the sugar.
- Mix the sugar well and let it dissolve.
- Simmer and let the sugar syrup come to single thread consistency. This is the term used by most of the cooking experts and trust me, it always scares me. I was ever worried that I would miss this stage. This is how I figure out the syrup consistency. Let the syrup fall from the ladle and when it comes out as a thick string, rather than falling out in drops, the syrup is ready. Switch off the flame and add the desired color.
For the Boondhi
- Sieve the besan, rice flour and baking soda and make a thick batter adding enough water. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. The batter should not be too liquid. This is something to be taken care of.
- Heat a wide mouthed frying pan and heat oil.
- Once the oil is ready, pour the batter over the jarani and take another flat ladle and rub the batter on the jarani so that it falls out as tiny drops in the oil. Take precaution when doing this as the oil might splatter. Turn the boondhis over once or twice and once it becomes light brown in color, drain it on a paper towel.
- Do the same procedure for all the batter and keep the boondhis ready.
Making the Kunjalaadu
- Take a small frying pan and heat 2tsp of ghee. Fry the cashew, raisins and then add the clove powder and nutmeg powder and keep them ready.
- Keep the boondhis ready and once the sugar syrup gets to the desired consistency, pour the syrup on the boondhi and using a long handled ladle, mix it well.
- Add the fried cashew raisin mixture and mix them once again.
- Once the laddus cools down a little, add the kalkandu (Sugar candy) and shape them as balls.
- Leave the Kunjalaadu overnight uncovered or loosely covered and the next day keep them in a airtight container. In cooler weather the they hold well outside for about a week, but if the weather is warm, I would suggest that they go into the refrigerator in couple of days.
Once the Kunjalaadu were made and the tastings done, we sat down to shape them. That’s when my laddu’s kept falling apart. I was able to get them to a round shape, but every laddu took me about 5 minutes. When this happens it means that the sugar syrup was over done. It got above the single thread consistency and started to become powdery. I panicked, but thanks to my aunt for her timely input. She asked me to dissolve about 1/4th cup of sugar in a cup of water and just let it boil and dissolve well. Then I added this to the crumbly laddu mixture and instantly this added lot of moisture and shaping them was a breeze.
Wishing you all a very sweet and wonderful Deepavali !!!