THEME: #154 FILMI FOODIES
Whenever Mallika who blogs at A Foodie Housewife suggests a theme for our weekly FoodieMonday group, she comes up with unique ideas. The #154th theme suggested by her was Filmi Foodies. So what does that mean? Well, either you make a dish that your favorite actor (note that these days there is no gender differentiation) loves, or any dish/dishes that an actor suggests or makes for the masses to follow their diet and nutritional plan or make a dish that has featured in a movie.
The first foodie movie that I watched was Cheeni Kum. However, being a vegetarian I didn’t want to go into the whole procedure of creating a Hyderbadi Zafrani Pulao without meat. After that I watched Ramji Londonwaley, where a simpleton from a village in India finds his way to London and cooks for a family and their restaurant. In a cook off he wins the hearts of the audience by preparing a sugar free gajar ka halwa. Then there was the copy of Hollywood movie Chef. Saif Ali Khan loses his job as a chef and starts his own food truck and becomes famous for his rotzza. I love watching movies and any food based movie right from Ratatouille, Julie and Julia to The Hundred Foot Journey are my favorite. I can watch all the foodie movies over and over again, each time with added awe as though I’m watching it for the first time.
I really don’t have just one favorite actor so cooking for an actor was going to be pretty difficult. It had to be movie based and immediately I thought of English Vinglish. Not only is the late Sridevi one of my favorite actors but I loved her acting and the whole concept of the movie. Its one movie that any woman especially a housewife can relate to. This movie portrays how a meek Hindi speaking housewife Shashi transforms herself into a self respecting, citizen of the world by enrolling herself in a four week English language crash course. A talented cook, her tasty laddoos (yellow sweet balls) were praised by many and she ran a small business supplying her homemade laddoos. Her husband’s sarcastic remark ‘my wife was born to make laddoos’ and her daughter being ashamed of her because she could not converse in English, made her feel inadequate. During a her trip to USA for her niece’s wedding, she realized that not knowing English was holding her back. In four weeks she masters the language, feeds her classmates delicious food and makes a whole tray full of laddoos for her niece’s wedding.
Her new found confidence does not make her lose her femininity, her Indian culture, her love and duty towards the family. It added so much value and self respect to what she is. A lovely tribute to all women by Gauri Shinde, the writer and director of this movie with a simple plan, universally appealing and portrayal of the everyday lives and struggle.
To sum it up when Shashi quotes” When a man cooks, it’s art. When a woman cooks it’s her duty,” it definitely tugs at your heartstring.
Keeping the whole laddoo theme in mind I decided to make boondi laddoos. When I got all the ingredients ready to make the laddoos, I was a bit apprehensive as I have this misconception that Indian sweets are difficult to make. I thought I wouldn’t be able to make the perfect boondis or drops as they are called in Hindi. Once I began the task, in no time the laddoos were ready. And here all these years I’ve held back from making my favorite laddoos…boondi laddoos or as we call it in Gujarati, boondi na ladwa. The way Shashi got over her fear of mastering English language, I got over the fear of making boondi laddoos. At this juncture I must mention that the special boondi jhara or sieve that is required for this recipe, I proudly confess that I’ve inherited it from my mother in law who use to make boondi ever so often for dinner and lunch parties.
As to the late Sridevi, I’ve enjoyed her movies from Solva Savan to English Vinglish. I’ve yet to watch Mom. Her comeback after 15 years for English Vinglish with impeccable performance, carrying the whole movie on her own, conveying emotions effortlessly with or without words left the audiences speechless. By the way her favorite food was pineapple ice cream.
Time to jot down the famous boondi laddoo recipe.
Makes 12 small ones or 8 big ones
For the batter:
1 cup besan flour (chickpea flour, chana no lot, besan atta)
½ cup water
1 tsp ghee (clarified ghee)
a little bit of kesar(orange) food colour
a pinch of soda bicarbonate (baking soda)
For the syrup:
1-1¼ cup white sugar
½ cup water
a few strands of saffron
2 cardamoms, remove the seeds and lightly crush them
To add to the laddoo mixture:
1 tbsp almonds, cut them into slivers
1 tbsp pistachios, cut them into slivers
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp raisins
Oil/ghee for deep frying
boondi jhara(perforated sieve)
Preparation of the boondi:
- Sieve the flour into a bowl.
- Add half of the water and mix it well.
- Add the remaining water and mix well to remove any lumps.
- Add the food colour and soda bicarbonate. Mix well.
- Let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat oil or ghee in a karai, wok or a pan over medium heat.
- To test if the oil or ghee is hot, add a small drop of the batter. It should come up immediately.
- Hold the jhara about 6-8 inches high over the wok/karai/pan.
- Pour a bit of the batter into the jhara.
- Using a spoon spread it gently. This will enable the batter to go through the holes and drop as boondi into the oil.
- Fry the boondi for 20-30 seconds and remove from the oil or ghee using a slotted spoon or another jhara.
- Repeat steps 8-11 with the remaining batter.
- Spread out the fried boondi so that it can cool down a bit.
Preparation of the syrup:
- Add sugar and water to a pan.
- Heat the pan over medium heat.
- Stir the mixture till the sugar melts. Add saffron and crushed cardamom.
- Let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes till the syrup becomes thick. Here we need a one string syrup. Check out this video to make sugar syrup.
- To test it, place a drop of the syrup on a plate. Let it cool and then take it between your thumb and forefinger. If you pull them apart, the sugar syrup will form a string. Or pour the sugar syrup using a spoon. It should drop in a string like fashion.
- Take the pan off the heat.
Preparation of the laddoos:
- Add the raisins to the hot syrup and mix well. This will make it a bit soft.
- Add the fried boondi, almond and pistachio slivers and the cardamom powder.
- Mix everything using a big spoon.
- Cover the pan and let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes. This allows the boondi to soak up the syrup.
- Take about 2-3 tbsp of the mixture into your palm. By pressing it not your fist gently, start making it into a round shape. Don’t squeeze it too tight as you don’t want the syrup to ooze out.
- Repeat the above step with the remaining mixture. The number of laddoos will depend on the size of the laddoos you make.
- Place the laddoos in a plate, cover it and let it rest for 30-60 minutes before you serve them.
- Its best to sieve the flour before adding the water to remove any lumps.
- Add kesar or orange food colour to the syrup if you like.
- Adding nuts and raisins is optional.
- I added the batter into a measuring jug. It was so easy to pour it into the jhara instead of using a ladle.
- The laddoos will stay fresh at room temperature for 2-3 days depending on the climate. After that keep any leftover in the fridge.
- If the batter runs out of the holes too easily then its too thin and you may need to add a bit more flour.
- If the batter is too thick it will not drop out of the holes on reading it with a spoon. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water.
- Don’t let the boondi mixture become too cold. It will become difficult to shape the laddoos.
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