Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Motichoor Boondi Laddu - For Diwali

Diwali is just one week away, and I'm sure preparations are on in full swing in many Indian households! As one fo the most widely celebrated Indian Festival, Diwali is a time for homemade sweets and snacks, and these Motichoor(Boondi) Laddoos are an apt creation! This Indian sweet gets its name from the Hindi word "Boond", meaning droplets, or "Moti", meaining Pearls!! Motichoor laddus made from fine gram-flour droplets which are fried and then immersed in a thick & delicious saffron flavored sugar syrup, and finally rolled into the shape of Laddoos. It looks like a lot of work, but when you put one in your mouth, you'll know its totally worth it!

An important part of any festival is the fact that you get to do things together, with your friends and family. Being is US, I miss the charm of some Indian festivals, but in my brief India trip, we tried to capture the essence as much as possible! The credit of this recipe goes to Saroj Ben, the lady who helps us make delicious delicacies during festival time, and of course to my Mom! Its great how inspiring and spiritually healing cooking can be.

My mom and my mother-in-law, both wanted to pack as many Diwali delicacies for us as the airlines would allow us to, so I have tonnes of goodies to share with you. For now, enjoy these lovely Motichoor Ladoos!

(Makes about 25 Laddoos)

For Boondi
2 1/2 cups of Gram Flour (Besan)
500 ml of Whole Milk
3 cups of Clarified Butter (Ghee) - for deep frying
1/4 cup dry-fruits - finely chopped (optional)

For Sugar Syrup
2 1/2 cups of Sugar
2 tbsp of Whole Milk
1/2 tsp of Cardamom Powder
A few drops of Saffron essence (for deep frying)
3 and 1/2 cups of Water

Special Equipement
A strainer, colander or fine sieve with droplet-sized or smaller pores


Making the Sugar Syrup
In a large deep vessel, put the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Once the sugar dissolves, add in the milk. Boil for 5 minutes or until scum forms on top. Strain with the strainer spoon and return to stove. Add in the saffron color and boil until it is sticky but no thread has formed. Add in the cardamom powder and mix well. Then set aside.

Making the Boondi
Mix the flour and milk together to form a smooth batter. Heat the clarified butter in a heavy frying pan. Hold the boondi-strainer over the frying pan with one hand. With the other hand, pour some batter all over the holes. Tap gently until all of the batter has fallen into the hot clarified butter. Be careful to stay away from the stove as the ghee might sputter a little. Stir with another strainer and remove once it is light golden in color. Set aside on a paper towel, and repeat the process for the remaining batter.

Making the Laddoos
Partly crush/smash 1/4th of the fried boondi with hand; immerse all the fried boondi in the syrup. Drain any excess syrup and spread in a large plate. Add the chopped dry fruits to this mixture. Sprinkle about 2 tsp of hot water over it. Cover and set aside for 5-10 minutes so the boondi soaks up the syrup and it becomes soft.

Once it gets sticky, and cool enough to handle, take a small portion of the boondi mixture and shape into small round balls with moist palms. Do the same for all laddoos.

Arrange on a plate and keep open to dry so the laddoos solidify. One they are hard enough, you can store in an air-tight container and keep in the regrigerator for upto 2 weeks.

Enjoy these delicious Motichoor (Boondi) Laddus and share them with your friends and guest as you celebrate Diwali!

Need more Diwali Sweets? Try the Kesar Almond Burfi, Coconut Laddoos, Kesar Rasmalai or Bengalli Rasgullas and make your Diwali a memorable one!

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