Batasha/Chilaka Perlu/Sugar Drops
Happy Holi to all the readers who are celebrating the festival on this Weekend. Holi is a festival of colors. It is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of ‘Phalguna’, according to the Hindu calendar. It is a celebration of the victory over evil and the arrival of spring. It is a joyous celebration where friends and families meet and play with colored powders/colored water. I wanted to share the recipe of a traditional sweet ‘Batasha/Chilaka Perlu/Sugar Drops’, that has almost become extinct in many places. There is a tradition of offering ‘A garland made of Batasha/Sugar drops’ to the god/goddess on the day of Holi festival. The same garland is put on the children/little kids at home, for their well being. I didn’t know the recipe and procedure to make these at home, when my kids were little. They weren’t available in the Indian stores in USA. I decided to save this traditional recipe in my blog. I thought, it would also be helpful to those who want to follow and continue this tradition. I found the recipe here. It is so easy to make these at home. ‘Batasha’ is a crispy sweet made of sugar syrup. Melted sugar is made porous by adding baking soda and then solidified in the desired shapes. They are also made in different colors and is usually made in a drop shape. The other popular shape for this candy is Parrot(Chilaka, in Telugu language)shape. A wooden mold is used to give the desired shape. There are different traditions that are associated with Batasha/Sugar Drops. The traditions vary from region to region in India. This sugar garland reminds me of Hyderabad, the city where I grew up. It is like revisiting my childhood. These sugar garlands were hanged at most of the shops that sell colors for Holi festival. I feel nostalgic as I write this recipe.
Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml
This recipe yields approximately 25-30 Batasha/Sugar Drops
Granulated white sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1/4 cup
Baking Soda – 1/4 Tsp.
Any food color of your choice – (optional)
Thread/Cooking twine – to make garland
Silpat(baking mat) or Aluminum foil
Line a thread/cooking twine on the Silpat and keep it ready. We will pour the prepared syrup on the thread to make a garland.
Add sugar and water in a wide thick bottomed pan. Mix it well. Place it on medium heat and keep stirring.
The sugar starts melting and the syrup continues to cook. Cook the syrup for 5-8 minutes until the desired consistency(hard ball stage) is reached. The syrup looks bubbly and it almost begins to crystallize.
Check if the sugar has reached the required consistency. Put a small amount of the syrup in a small bowl filled with water. The syrup should come together to form a ball.
Turn off the heat. Add baking soda and stir. The mixture becomes porous and also turns into bright white color.
Scoop out a spoonful of the syrup from the pan and pour it on the thread lined on the Silpat(baking mat)/Aluminuim foil. Repeat until the syrup is the pan is finished. You need to be really quick and very careful. I made some sugar drops without adding any food color. I quickly added a drop of yellow color in the sugar syrup, stirred it and made yellow colored sugar drops. The sugar will crystallize really fast. You need be really quick and also careful. Let them dry completely on the Silpat.
You can easily lift it off the Silpat/Aluminum foil. Store them in an airtight container.
If the sugar syrup mixture solidifies before you make all the sugar drops, add 1-2 tbsp. water to the mixture and place the pan on heat. Cook the syrup for a minute or two and make the sugar drops.
I hope you enjoy making these traditional sweet sugar drops/Batasha!!!!