Desserts

Balushahi – An Indian Delicacy

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Balushahi or Badusha is a traditional, disc shaped Indian dessert, with a flaky, melt in the mouth texture. These discs are made of flour dough, deep fried to light golden color on low heat and dipped in sugar syrup infused with cardamom and saffron!

My favorite childhood memory of this dessert is the technique of forming the perfect discs in between the palms of my hand, being taught by my mom. Balushahi was a must dessert in most of our festivals.

During our lockdown due to Covid19, we have been spending a lot of our time cooking and this has given me an opportunity to teach my kids how to make some of their favorite food as well as introduce them to my childhood favorite recipes. Especially the ones that are time consuming and we usually don’t make them due to time constraints of our normal hectic lifestyle.

There cannot be a better time to try those forgotten recipes than during this new “normal”, which has taught us to slow down and enjoy life as it is, with our families at home.

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I was very happy with the way these turned out and kids thought they tasted like cake donuts with cardamom flavor! You will need patience to make this recipe as it requires frying the Balushahis on a very low heat, so please do not rush if you want them to turn out perfect!

Ingredients for dough

  • 1 cup All purpose flour or maida
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. plain yogurt (preferably cold)
  • ¼ cup melted ghee (I used canola oil)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (a pinch)
  • Chilled water (as required)
  • Oil (for frying)

Ingredients for sugar syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. lemon Juice
  • ¼ tsp. green cardamom (elaichi) powder
  • Few strands of saffron

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Making one-string sugar syrup

  • Add sugar and water in a pan and place it on medium low heat.
  • Keep stirring the sugar until it completely dissolves. Remove any impurities that form on top of the sugar syrup,
  • Add lemon juice to avoid crystallization of sugar.
  • Add cardamom powder and saffron strands.
  • Simmer till the syrup becomes sticky or you get 1 string consistency in the syrup. I used cane sugar and it took me around 10- 12 minutes after the sugar dissolved. The syrup should feel sticky when touched at the back of the spoon. You can check the string consistency by touching the syrup at the back of your spoon in between your thumb and index finger and pulling it apart. You will see a string form.

Making Balushahi dough

  • Add flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add yogurt and oil (ghee) and rub it well with the flour mixture. I used some whey from the yogurt so did not have to add a lot of water but you can add chilled water, very little at a time to form a soft, pliable dough.
  • Cover the dough and set it aside for about 30 minutes.

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Making discs

  • Knead the dough once again by pulling small portions out and mixing back in. Do this for 5-6 times.
  • Make ¾ to 1-inch size balls from he dough. You should be able to make 12-14 balls from these measurements.
  • Roll each dough ball gently between your palms, in one direction forming into a disc shape. Make an indent or a hole by gently pressing in the center of the disc. Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel and keep aside.

Frying Balushahi

  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan or kadai on a low heat. (You can do this step while making the discs.) This is the most critical step in this recipe as the oil should not be hot!
  •  Add balushahi discs in the oil, careful not to overcrowd them.
  • Once they float on the top, fry them on low heat until they turn light golden in color. It took be around 14-15 minutes.
  • Take them out on a paper towel to drain the excess oil and then add them in warm sugar syrup.
  • Fry the next batch.
  • Keep the Balushahis dipped in sugar syrup for 15 – 20 minutes, turning them once or twice to make sure they get immersed in syrup from all sides.

Garnish and enjoy!

Take them out of the syrup and garnish them with pistachios and cardamom powder. We did not have the patience so ate them as it is!

Enjoy this recipe and do share your comments if you like it.

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