Diwali is around the corner and it is time for treats – sweet and cute !! Painted diyas and boxes of dried fruit are favorites of the season, so are sweets. When it comes to sweets, nothing surpasses the taste of homemade sweets like burfi, shankarpali or badusha. Badusha or balushahi as it is known in the north, is made pretty much all over India. The most amazing version I had was from a from a college mate’s Diwali stash. It was melt in the mouth flaky with a tad bit of crunch and just sweet enough .
How do I describe badusha ? It looks like a small glazed dough nut with the hole almost filled in. The ingredients are very similar, but the texture isn’t . Both are made with leavened and fried dough. But unlike doughnuts, dadusha has the texture of a pastry.
By no means am I an expert badusha maker. There have been more mishaps than successes with this recipe :-). Too much leavening and you have the dough that puffs up like an erupting volcano, too much heat and the crust browns while the dough inside stays uncooked. Too much water and dough is not flaky… the list goes on.
Making perfectly flaky sweet badusha takes time and practice. But paying attention to a few things will ensure that you have a delightful sweet every time, even though it may not be the one you are looking for. A few steps closer to the ideal taste and texture.
If you are using only baking soda as leavening,use yogurt in the dough for that tiny bit of needed acidity. With baking powder milk/water can be used to make the dough. The first step is to mix the yogurt, salt , sugar , melted butter and the leavening together. This activates the baking soda as well as ensures that the dough is flavored evenly.
Rub the mix into the flour with your fingers until a mix similar to coarse breadcrumbs in texture is created. This step is important in creating the flaky texture. The next step is to add a few teaspoons of water and knead gently, just enough to bring the breadcrumb mass together into a stiff dough. As soon as the dough comes together stop kneading . Roll into a large ball. If you pinch of a piece from this ball the raw ends should look flaky, uneven. Cover and set aside .
One Thread Test Getting the sugar syrup into the right consistency is tricky too . If it is too thick , the fried badushas will not absorb the syrup . If it is too thin, the syrup will soak into the badusha too much making it more like a gulab jamun . Aim for one thread consistency , that will get absorbed and crystallized as it dries. To test dip a spatula in the syrup and take out. Let it cool for a few seconds, touch the syrup with your forefinger. Press your thumb and forefinger together and pull apart slowly. The syrup has reached the right consistency when a single thread is formed between the fingers.
You may need to test the syrup a few times as it heats. So keep the heat on low once all the sugar has melted. Once the syrup has reached the right consistency, add the flavorings along with a few drops of lemon juice. Lemon juice keeps it from crystallizing. It is important to keep the warm syrup waiting for the badushas as they are cooked.
Heat the oil in a pan (kadai). There should be enough oil to fully soak the badushas – at least 1 inch in depth. Pinch off the dough into lime size balls. Roll these smooth and flatten a bit usong the palm of your hands. Make a small impression in the center with your finger as you flatten them. Keep it covered as the oil heats. Try to get these shaped without big cracks, minor cracks fill out as it fries.
Once the oil is hot , turn off the heat and place a few badushas in the hot oil . Do not crowd the pan. As it sizzles turn the heat back on and keep on low. Let the badushas cook slowly over low heat turning a few times in between. It takes a few minutes to cook. The actual cooking time depends on how thick your badushas are and how hot the oil is . A note of caution , these need to be cooked over low heat , but if you do not see any bubbles around the badushas it means that the oil needs to be heated more. If it bubbles too vigorously take the badushas out and turn off the heat for a couple of minutes before resuming frying.
Once the badushas are browned on both sides take these out and drain on kitchen towels for a couple minutes, while you proceed to fry the next batch. Add the drained badushas to the warm sugar syrup. You may have to turn them or pour the syrup over to coat all sides . Let these soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
These were just out of the syrup and garnished, so they have the shiny look. As it cools the shine gets replaced by the opaque coating of sugar crystals. Note to self – hide some next time to take pictures of dried version!
If the sugar syrup seems to crystallize over the badushas as they are immersed, the syrup needs to be thinned. Remove the badushas from the syrup and add few tablespoons of hot water to the syrup. Stir and bring the mix to a boil. As it comes to boil return the badushas into the syrup and turn off the heat. It is important to keep the syrup warm throughout the entire soaking process .
Garnish with chopped nuts if desired. Store these in airtight containers once the sugar syrup dries .
You might like these other Diwali sweets as well ..