Boondi is a snack originally from Rajasthan, a state in northern India. Boondi is a popular food in Hindu culture that is eaten to celebrate many special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays and festivals like Diwali or Raksha Bandhan.
Derived from the Hindi word boond, which means water droplets, boondi are small, deep-fried round balls made from besan. Also called gram flour, besan is prepared with a variety of ground chickpeas and is an essential ingredient in traditional Indian cuisine.
The process of making boondi starts with a thick besan batter that is poured through a sieve and dropped directly into sizzling oil, creating small, deep-fried droplets. The size of the boondi will depend on the size of the holes in the sieve. The process isn’t difficult, but getting the round shape of boondi can be challenging. Boondi comes in a sweet or savory version and can also be given a colorful look with food coloring.
Savory versions are typically enjoyed as a snack and are often combined with yogurt-based raitas, curries or sprinkled over salads. Many dishes with boondi have spices such as turmeric, chili powder, or saffron added. Boondi is also used in rice dishes or for garnishing chaats. If enjoyed as a dessert, these tiny, crispy balls are usually coated in sugary syrups for popular Indian desserts such as ladoo.
As diners continue to be more eager to explore different cuisines, boondi is a simple ingredient chefs can incorporate into their menu or add to their own dishes.