Badusha: Try This Deep-Fried Sweet Treat From South India

On a frenetic day where I wandered through Jerusalem’s many food markets, I tried the Luqaimat, which translates to bites from Arabic. These deep-fried balls made with all-purpose flour or maida transported me straight back to Diwali celebrations at home. The Badusha is one of the quintessential sweets on most Diwali sweet menus in many South Indian homes. Diwali used to be a time when multiple sweets were homemade in many homes. The practice continues even though it’s easy to buy Diwali hampers or pre-packaged sweet packs from sweet shops. It’s not just a Diwali speciality.

Also Read: Indian Cooking Tips: How To Make Halbai – An Irresistible South Indian Dessert From Karnataka

Almost every region in the world has sweet treats that are crafted with frying flour or maida and then tossed in sugar syrup or powdered sugar. The Luqaimat is just one example. The origin story of the Badusha points to the Mughals who are believed to have brought it to South India. The name adds credence to this theory. The Badusha is not very different from the Balushahi, a popular delicacy in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Multiple variations of the Balushahi also come in different shapes including smaller, diamond-cut balushahi. Some versions are also filled with nuts or mawa. In many ways, these fried sweet treats are also the precursor to the modern doughnut as we know it.

The Badusha is quite similar to the Balushahi or Rajasthan’s Makhan Bada in Rajasthan that comes with an indent in the center that makes it resemble a South Indian style vada. But there’s a subtle difference in texture – the Badusha tends to be less crunchy than its Northern Indian counterparts. It’s both soft and flaky.

I’ve also noticed that the Badusha is less sweet, especially in some homes and sweet shops. This can be tweaked with the amount of sugar syrup. It also makes it an ideal accompaniment with filter coffee and a savoury snack like a mixture. It’s what many homes in Tamil Nadu call Sweet, karam (spicy snack), and kaapi (or filter coffee). While Badushas have traditionally been made in a standard size, quite a few sweet shops have introduced a bite-sized version or what they call a ‘mini badusha’. There are multiple sweet shops in Chennai like Grand Sweets or Suswaad where you can buy an authentic version of badusha. You can also try to make it at home with this recipe.

Also Read: Rava Kesari: The South Indian Dessert with a Sprinkle of Saffron

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Badusha Recipe: How To Make Badusha At Home:

Ingredients:

  • Maida -250gm
  • Ghee – 75 gm
  • Curd – 3 tablespoons (thick, fresh curd works best)
  • Baking powder – a pinch
  • Sugar – 250 gm
  • Oil – for frying.

Method:

  • Whisk the curd with the ghee and baking powder.
  • Add maida and knead it to a tight soft dough.
  • Keep covered with a moist cloth for 15 minutes.
  • Apply oil in your palm as you knead again and split the dough into thick discs or pedas. Press gently in the centre as you knead.
  • Add 1/4 cup water to a pan. Heat on a low flame as you blend in the sugar. Keep stirring the water and sugar till you reach a thick ‘two string’ consistency and then turn off the stove.
  • Pour oil into another pan and fry the pedas on a low flame.
  • Use a fork to ensure the pedas are fried evenly (adding one at a time) Turn when one side turns golden once both sides are done remove from the flame. This is the key step and requires extra patience. Ensure the pedas are done (there is a tendency for them to be underdone)
  • Use a tissue to extract excess oil.
  • Toss them in syrup when they are still warm. Remove after a few minutes and place on a greased plate.
  • You know the badusha is done well once they are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft in the centre with a glistening finish (from the sugar syrup).

You can garnish the badusha with finely chopped almonds or pista.

About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.

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