It looks like every country has their version of a donut/ doughnut. Balushahi happens to be the Indian version of it. The shape, ingredients and method of preparation are somewhat similar – APF, sugar, water, fat, raising agents/ leaving agents, deep fried, sweet. However the similarity ends with balushahi not using eggs and second, their texture is different from the typical donut. Balushahi has a pastry that is crisp on the outside and heavy yet somewhat flaky inside while donuts are usually soft and airy. Also, balushahi is almost always dunked in a syrupy sugar glaze; sort of glazed doughnut if I may say so.
Balushahi is typically made during Diwali and other festive occasions. In the north of India, especially in the Punjabi community, this sweet is a must at a marriage. The balushahi, accompanied by other sweets and savoury goodies, is packed in boxes and given away to guests and relatives post marriage ceremony as a ‘take away’ return gift of sorts.
The first time I made these, I ended up with total disaster. The pastry was like one chewy mass, it didn’t rise to the top while frying and the glaze was terribly thick. But it helped me learn some valuable lessons that translated to success later. I learnt that the success of a balushahi does not entirely depend on the precision of ingredients (unlike cakes and cookies) but a lot depends on how the dough is handled and then fried. The dough does not requires much kneading. Besides, it needs to be fried on a low temperature. The sugar syrup should preferably be of one string consistency and not cool when the balushahis are dunked into it. It is by no means a healthy recipe but definitely a delicious one; one that is perfect for some indulgence during the festive season. So grab the recipe and do try it.
½ kg/ 4¼ C Maida (flour)
150 grams/ 9 tbsp approx. Ghee
½ C Yogurt (should not be sour)
½ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda (Bi-carb soda)
½ C warm Water to lightly knead the dough (use little by little to form the dough)
Extra Ghee for frying
500 grams/ 3 C approx. – Sugar
400 ml/ 1 whole C + 1 scant C Water
2-3 tsp lemon juice
Sieve together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add ghee and rub together the flour till it becomes crumbly. Add yogurt and bring together the flour. The dough should be medium soft in consistency. If not, use a little water. Cover with a moist cloth and keep the dough aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the water in a pan and add sugar. Boil for 15 minutes or till you attain one thread consistency. To check this, take a drop of syrup in a plate and using your index finger and thumb check if you get a single string of syrup. Press the drop of syrup between your finger and thumb and then gently try to separate them. You should get one ‘string’ of sugar syrup when you do this. Stir in the lemon juice, this will prevent the syrup from too much crystallizing.
Pinch the dough to make 24 balls of similar size. Try to smooth out the balls by rolling between your palms and then flattening them to 1mm size between your hands. Imprint the centre with your thumb or poke a hole in the centre. Keep aside covered for a few more minutes, while you heat the oil.
Heat the oil in a wok or deep pan and reduce the temperature to medium low. Fry the dough in batches on medium low flame. When the balushahis float to the top and turn golden brown, flip over to cook the other side.
Once done, remove from the oil on a kitchen towel or an absorbent sheet. Dunk in the syrup for half a minute and remove once the balushahi is well coated on all sides. Keep aside on a greased plate to cool. Finish off the whole batch in this manner. Enjoy the festivities!
Yield: 24 balushahis
Thanks for visiting and see you soon again
Other Indian sweets to try this Diwali…
Gulab Jamun (No fail, easy peasy recipe, using Milk Powder)
WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY, PROSPEROUS & SAFE DIWALI.
Have a great time with your family and friends!!!!!!
Linked to YBR event hosted by Nancy of Spiciefoodie