Balushahi. This wonderful, flaky sweet was my Mother’s absolute favourite. Actually, it was the South Indian version called Badushah which was. The only difference that I have been able to spot between the Balushahi and Badushah was that the latter had a thick layer of crystallized sugar on the outside. Either way, Amma loved them.
After making Sev Burfi or Singhar ji Burfi, Maa Laddu, Kodubale, and Mysore Pak, I thought I was done for this year. However, on Lakshmi Pooja day, I realised that I had to make naivedyam and that I also did not have enough sweets to share with a dear friend’s family. In my enthusiasm, I had taken quite a bit of sweets to work and distributed an equal amount on Dhanteras.
As I was thinking what to make, I thought of Badushah. As I surfed around for a good recipe, I came across Sanjeev Kapoor’s Video Recipe for Balushahi. Once I saw the video, I wanted to make Balushahi immediately and I did.
Note: The recipe is great; however, I found the proportions a bit off. My recipe reflects the proportions I used.
Fair Warning: This recipe involves a lot of time where you do nothing but wait for things to happen. The dough has to rest for about 45 minutes; each batch of Balushahi can take about 40 minutes to fry. See what I mean? If you are an impatient person like me, find something to do. Otherwise you will needlessly fiddle with the work-in-progress and ruin the end product.
This recipe takes a significant amount of time; not so much effort. However, the end result is absolutely worth it. The Balushahis are flaky with just a hint of crunch and sweet. Now that I know how to make them, I will not be buying Balushahis anytime soon.
Recipe Source: Sanjeev Kapoor’s Video Tutorial and Text Recipe from SanjeevKapoor.com
Total Time: 4 to 5 Hours
- Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
- Time for the Dough to Rest: 45 Minutes
- Time to Fry Each Batch of Balushahi: 30-45 Minutes
- Max Time for Balushahi to Dry: 2 Hours
Yields: 12 to 16 Balushahis
Ingredients for Balushahi
- Maida or All Purpose Flour – 1 Cup
- Soda – 3 Large Pinches
- Ghee – 1 tbsp + a little extra
- Ice-Cold Yoghurt – 2 tbsp
- Ice-Cold Water – As required
Ingredients for Sugar Syrup
- Sugar – 1 Cup
- Water – 1/2 Cup
- Lemon Juice – 1/3 tsp
Method to Make the Balushahi Dough
- Sieve together the maida and the soda.
- Add the ghee and mix till the flour achieves a crumbly texture.
- I found that this needed a tad bit more ghee that 1 tbsp.
- Do not heat or melt the ghee; use it in the solid form.
- Whisk the yogurt till smooth.
- Add the well-beaten yogurt to the flour and mix with a gentle hand till the dough comes together.
- If needed, add a little ice-cold water and bring the flour together to form a firm yet pliable dough.
- The dough make not be smooth; that is OK.
- Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 45 minutes.
Method to Make the Sugar Syrup
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, add the sugar and water.
- Over medium flame, heat till the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens to a one-thread consistency.
- Dip a spoon into the sugar syrup.
- Wait for a couple of seconds for the syrup to cool a bit.
- Swipe your index figure along the back of the spoon.
- Press your thumb and index finger together.
- Pull them apart gently.
- You should see a string form and hold between your thumb and index finger.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Mix well and set aside.
Method to Shape the Balushahi
- Divide the dough into 12 to 16 equal portions.
- Roll each portion into a ball.
- Press into a thick disc about 1/4″ thick.
- Using your index finger, make an indentation in the centre.
- Do not make a hole; just a deep indentation.
- Set aside.
- Keep the Balushahis covered with a damp cloth.
Method to Fry the Balushahi (The Most Crucial Step)
- To a cold/unheated kadhai or wok, add about 1.5 cups of oil.
- Ensure that the depth of oil is at least 2.5 inches at the shallowest point.
- Warm do not heat about 1.5 cups of oil.
- If you add a small piece of dough, it should settle at the bottom but not rise to the top.
- The oil should bubble slightly around the edges of the dough.
- If the oil gets hot, turn off the heat and let it cool.
- Keep the flame on low.
- Slide 3 or 4 Balushahis into the warm oil.
- Ensure there is plenty of space between the Balushahis as they will expand as they fry.
- The Balushahis will sink to the bottom.
- Leave the Balushahis to fry on the low heat for about 20 or 25 minutes.
- The Balushahis will slowly expand and rise as they fry.
- Wait till the Balushahis are golden brown.
- Using a slotted spoon, flip the Balushahis over so that the flip side cooks as well.
- This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.
- When the Balushahis are fried well, remove them from the oil, drain the oil well and place on a kitchen tissue.
- Repeat till all Balushahis are fried.
- In the meantime, when the Balushahi is warm but not cold, place them in the Sugar syrup.
- Ensure that the Balushahi is fully submerged in the syrup.
Use a spoon to pour the syrup over the Balushahi.
- Let the Balushahi soak for about 2 minutes.
- Flip over and let Balushahi soak for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the Balushahi from the Sugar Syrup.
- Drain the excess sugar syrup.
- Place the soaked Balushahi on a plate to dry.
- This will take about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Cut the Pistachios into fine slivers.
- Sprinkle the Pista slivers on the Balushahi.
- Store in a dry, air-tight container. Balushahi will keep for about 5 to 7 days.
- If the oil is too hot, the balushahi will fry from outside but will remain raw inside.
- The water and yogurt used to make the dough must be ice-cold.
- The lemon juice prevents the sugar syrup from crystallizing.