It’s festival time! Sankranti, our most auspicious harvest festival is just around the corner – time for indulgence, good food, new clothes and lot of fanfare. Preparation for Sankranti, begins weeks in advance at my grandmother’s (ammamma) home and is always centered around fun and traditional festive foods. Sankranti evokes memories of the warmth and tantalizing aroma of food being cooked in ammamma’s kitchen that would perk up our palates and endless rounds of hot-piping sweets and savories would disappear as soon as they were cooked, much before lunch time..:).
Boorelu, one of the most popular sweets prepared in the homes of Andhras, symbolic of joy and festivity, completely embodies the idea of a traditional Andhra sweet to the hilt.
This perennial favorite is a deep-fried sweet ball, the filling of which is prepared from bengal gram, jaggery or sugar, coconut and cardamom powder being the flavor enhancer, which is dipped in a batter made from black gram dal and rice and deep-fried to a golden brown color. Here’s how to make these delicious treats with a golden hue and redolent with cardamom flavor to indulge yourself this festive season.
Prep & Cooking: 1 hour, Soaking: 4 hours
Makes approx 25 boorelu
1/2 cup cup black gram dal/urad dal/minappappu
1 cup rice
1 cup bengal gram/channa dal/sengapappu
1 cup sugar or 1 cup grated jaggery (adjust according to your choice)
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut (optional)
3/4 tsp cardamom powder
salt to taste
oil for deep frying
1 Drain water from the black gram dal and rice and grind to fine paste adding very little water. It should be like a thick dosa batter. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Leave aside covered.
2 Cook bengal gram with just enough water to cover the dal. The dal should be just cooked and hold shape. Drain any left over water from the dal after its cooked. Add jaggery or sugar to the dal and use a masher to mash them together till it blends well.
3Take a heavy-bottomed vessel and add the ground dal paste and cook till it appears like a thick paste, stirring continuously as the dal tends to stick to the vessel. Turn off heat and cool.
4 Add grated coconut, cardamom powder and mix well. Shape small bite sized balls like shown in the picture above.
5Heat enough oil in a wide heavy bottomed vessel for deep frying the balls. Dip each ball in the batter and let it coat evenly and place in the oil and deep fry till golden brown and crunchy. You can deep fry a batch of four to five balls depending on the size of the vessel.
6Serve warm. Store in an air tight container as they last for at least two days.
Alternately, you can cook the jaggery or sugar till it melts and then add the mashed dal to the syrup and cook it till it forms a thick paste. Ensure that the rice-dal batter is thick so that it coats the balls evenly and holds shape. The batter should not be runny. Just before eating, make a small hole on top and fill it with a little ghee or melted butter. Its purely optional though. You can use the left over batter to make savory balls by adding a little more salt, cumin seeds and green chilli paste. Deep fry these savory balls till golden brown.