Updated: Aug 1
Deep fried goodness!
A flaky, crisp-on-the-outside-soft-inside, high on sugar (but then, what’s a dessert without sugar *thinking*) predominantly North-Indian dessert. Also known as Badushah in Southern India.
Even though Balushahi may look like a sugar rush waiting to happen, its not really that sweet. This is because, the sugar syrup is cooked till a two-thread consistency or hard ball stage and only coats the Balushahi from outside. The sugar syrup is not watery enough to seep in to the layers of a Balushahi, leaving it just about mildly sweetened from the inside. So don't go by the sugar loaded looks of a Balushahi or Badushah, give it a go.
Moderation is key!
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Makes 10 / 12 balushahi / badushah
Time taken: 35 – 45 minutes
Ingredients to make Balushahi
For the dough
2 cups all-purpose flour / maida
¼ tsp baking soda (soda bicarbonate)
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 tbsp yoghurt
Warm water – as much is required for kneading the dough
Ghee / cooking oil to deep fry (I recommend ghee)
For the sugar syrup
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup water
4 cardamom pods – lightly beaten to open the pods (I used ground cardamom)
1 bay leaf, for added flavour (optional)
2 cloves, for added flavour (optional)
Method of making Balushahi
For the sugar syrup:
Mix sugar, water and spices and reduce till the syrup reaches two-thread (do taar) consistency. Keep aside to bring the syrup down to a warm temperature, not hot.
Start with adding ghee / cooking oil, for frying, in a heavy-bottom pan / kadhai - to be kept on low heat. The ghee / cooking oil should not be heated to a high temperature as that will result in undercooked balushahi.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl to mix well.
Add ghee and mix using your fingers till the flour mix resembles the texture of bread crumbs.
Add yoghurt and mix.
Add warm water and mix lightly – you just want to mix (not knead) enough to bring the dough together – to form a soft dough. Your dough will look flaky at this point, this is what gives the Balushahi its texture. Kneading the dough will overwork the gluten in the flour, which will result in dense textured Balushahi.
Divide the dough in to smaller balls and lightly flatten them. Using your thumb, make an indent in each flattened dough ball.
Test if the ghee / cooking oil is hot enough to fry by dropping a tiny ball of flour – it should lightly sizzle, and rise to the top gradually, not instantly.
Fry the Balushahi or Badushah on medium heat for the first minute or so and then on low heat for the next 5 to 6 minutes, till golden brown, and cooked from the inside.
For crisp, flaky Balushahi, avoid overcrowding the pan. Also the dough will expand to 1 ½ times the size while frying, so leave enough empty space in the pan.
Remove the Badushah from pan and drain on a kitchen towel. Allow the Balushahi to completely cool down before dunking in the sugar syrup.
Once the Badushah fried dough balls have cooled down, dunk them in the warm sugar syrup and mix well or keep turning the Balushahi / Badushah to coat evenly. Your sugar syrup should be warm and Balushahi at ambient temperature.
Note: if you want to make Balushahi with a syrupy centre, cook the sugar syrup to a one-thread consistency. In this case, the sugar syrup will be watery enough to seep in to the Badushah and will give you soft syrupy Balushahi. Remember to make only enough syrupy Balushahi that can be consumed within a couple of days.
Remove the syrup soaked Balushahi and place on a tray for the sugar to set and crystalise and your traditional Indian dessert - Balushahi or Badushah is ready to serve / eat. You could garnish it with slivered dry fruits before serving.
As I said, moderation is key! ;)
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