Badusha or Balushahi as it is called in north India is a delectable Indian traditional sweet, made during festivals and special occasions. Though not yeasted it is partly similar to the donut, as it is also deep fried and contains all-purpose flour, as the main ingredient.
In our house badusha is the most sought-after sweet, being both hubby and kids favorite. Whenever I make it, my elder son would take the whole container and keep it in his room.
And literally, I would keep begging him for the rest of us 😀 . Then he will insist that I make a separate batch for him. It’s never enough in our house.
During my last visit to India, we had a small get-together with school friends. It was a kind of potluck meet, and for my part, I made this sweet.
It was liked and enjoyed by all my friends and they all wanted the recipe. So this is for all of them, and for the rest of my friends who could not get to taste it.
Coming to the recipe, it is pretty straightforward and simple. The major investment will be your time and patience. The dough balls have to be fried in the lowest flame setting.
You may have to even remove it off the stove if it starts bubbling up at that temperature. One batch will take anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes to fry depending on the size of your roundels.
So what I would suggest is, that you should prepare this in the midst of your other kitchen chores, in a way that you can keep an eye on it. If you plan to spend dedicated time for this alone, you will definitely become tired of waiting 🙂 .
Apart from the slow cooking, two other factors that you need to keep in mind are the way the dough is mixed. One is rubbing and the other is patting.
After adding the ghee, rub the flour by taking it in both your hands, till it gets a nice bread crumb texture. To incorporate the curd/yogurt into the flour, collect and pat the dough over, till no dry flour remains.
Do not be tempted to knead or smooth out the dough. It has to be rough or rather barely mixed. If you try to knead it to a smooth dough, then the layers will not be formed.
This is my way of making the badusha, and believe me, it has always worked. For years, I have got rave reviews from whoever had it, so much so that my family calls it my signature dish 🙂 .
Do it the way I am doing, and you will keep looking for reasons to make this traditional Indian sweet.
For Non-Indians who are familiar with the donut, this will be a welcome change. Though like the donut this is not a very healthy recipe, as it involves deep frying and dunking in sugar syrup, it’s definitely a treat. But it’s a lot better than the ones we used to get when I was a kid as it was made with hydrogenated vegetable oil.
I have tried to make it with wholewheat flour too. It did come out very well, light and flaky following my method. But I could smell a mild wheat flavor, though my family did not sense the difference.
Nonetheless, whenever I make badusha for the family it’s mostly with whole wheat. You can also try subbing half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. Still, am looking for avenues to make this sweet even healthier. Will keep you guys posted.
Alternately, you can try with organic white flour too, like the Dove’s farm plain white flour which I use every now and then. For people in Qatar, it is available at Lulu and Megamart.
When you are trying for the first time you can half the recipe, depending on your confidence level. Though you will never go wrong with this recipe. The standard recipe is for 1½ cups of flour, which will yield around 18 pieces of badusha. I have actually doubled the recipe, as this was for our get-together.
Over to the recipe..
- 3 cups All purpose flour/ Maida /Plain flour
- 8 tbsp ghee
- 6 tbsp cold curd/yogurt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- a pinch cardamom powder
- water as needed
- any vegetable oil for deep frying
For sugar syrup
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp milk(if needed)
- Sieve together the All purpose flour, baking soda, salt and cardamom powder twice or thrice.
- Add the ghee and mix it up first using your fingers. Now grab the flour in both your hands and rub the flour, till all the ghee is incorporated into the flour and it resembles bread crumbs. Do this for at least 3-5 minutes.
- Next add the cold curd to the flour in a scattered pattern. Mix the curd with the flour using your fingers. At this stage most of the dough will be dry. Sprinkle water as needed to make a coarse dough. For 3 cups of flour I needed around 1/2 cup of water.
- Start patting by picking up the dry flour and pressing onto the centre. Keep doing this till you see no more dry flour. The dough will look rough. Cover it with a wet cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- When the dough is resting, prepare the sugar syrup, by heating up the sugar with the water. Let the sugar melt and boil. If your sugar has impurities add the milk to the boiling syrup. As it boils you can see dirt floating as a foam on top. Skim and discard as it forms. You can skip this step if your sugar is clean.
- As the sugar thickens, check for single string consistency.That is when you take a drop of the boiling syrup in your index finger, touch it with your thumb, and try to pull back the thumb it will form a single string between the two fingers.
- Switch off the flame and add the lemon juice. Keep aside.
- Now make small roundels out of the dough by pinching off a piece and rolling between your palms. Be gentle in rolling , and don't smooth out the edges. Flatten it and make a dent in the centre. No need to knead the dough after resting. Straightaway pinch the dough and proceed.
- Heat the oil in medium flame. Drop the flattened pieces of dough, as fits your frying pan.Ensure that you do not overcrowd as these will double in size after frying. Turn the flame to the lowest setting and let the badusha cook. Once it rises to the top , flip over and cook both sides become golden brown. Always maintain the temperature of the oil to very minimum bubbles. If it starts bubbling up too much remove the vessel from the stove. Once all the bubbles die down, put it back on the stove. Keep doing this till all badushas are cooked.
- Now for immersing in sugar syrup, you can do it in two ways. Once cooked you can drain the oil from the badushas and straightaway add it to the syrup, which will give you very soft badushas. If you are looking for a crispy outside and soft inside, drain them on to a kitchen towel, rest for a few minutes and then put them into the syrup.
- Keep them soaking for about 5 minutes, after which you can transfer it to a plate keeping them apart from each other. At this stage you can add the garnishings like thinly slit pistachios, cashews or even thin strings of dessicated coconut .
- Wait patiently till all the glossy syrup is absorbed into the badusha, and it becomes totally dry on the outside.
- Serve them to your family and friends and get ready to bask in their appreciation. Unlike donuts these taste very good from the next day.
- It can be stored for 7 days in an air tight container at room temperature. But seriously this sweet has never seen 7 days in my house.
- Ensure that the curd/yogurt you add is cold and not sour. If you use sour curd, then the badhusha will also turn sour. But when I made these I only had curd that was sour. So I added milk as much as needed, to nullify the sour taste, refrigerated it for some time till it became cold, and then proceeded with the recipe. (That’s some trouble shooting tips 🙂 )
- Honestly, I knew there was curd in the refrigerator, but did not bother to check how sour it was. I came to the bread crumb stage of the recipe, and then only sensed that I obviously could not use such a sour curd. Urgently sent out hubby to somehow get curd from the stores, but my bad nowhere it was available. So made my own by adding milk to the sour curd. All this took more than 3 hours, and till that time the flour was waiting in the bread crumb stage 🙂 . Though it did not impact the recipe, was a great learning lesson for me, that I have to check the ingredients before proceeding to make any recipe.
- Adding lemon juice to the sugar syrup prevents crystallization.
- You can dunk the badushas, in the syrup for as much as you want. I normally soak it for 5 minutes, and the sweetness is perfect.
- Ensure that the syrup is at least warm when the fried badushas are dunked into it. If it comes to room temperature, you can heat it up on low flame.
- When you plan to dunk the badushas straight away into the sugar syrup, see that you soak it for no more than 5 minutes. Else it can become too soft and break.
- Use the leftover sugar syrup to prepare some other delicacy.