Balushahi is believed to have originated in the Indian subcontinent and is today consumed widely throughout the region as a popular sweet. The sweet might have a Mughal connection, as various sources suggest confectioners made similar kinds of sweets during the period. However, the name perhaps comes from the word ‘baluka’, which means a ball made out of wheat flour.
Incidentally, the Baluka forms a part of the Chhappan Bhog (an array of 56 dishes, specially made for the gods and goddesses) offering to Lord Krishna. However, when this ball of dough is cooked in ghee, dunked in a flavoured sugar syrup, garnished with pistachios, dried fruits, rose petals and finally decorated with the edible silver or gold foil, the look and presentation of this sweet becomes royal or "shahi". This is how the Balushahi gets its name.
Despite its grand appearance, preparation of the Balushahi (Indian glazed doughnut) is fairly simple. It is interesting to note that Balushahi requires maida dough to be kneaded elaborately with baking soda to make the fried balls fluffy and airy. Before deep frying in a wok of warm ghee, the dough is shaped into circular balls by hand, with an indentation in the middle. The light brown, fluffed up and crispy balls are allowed to cool and then dipped in a sugar syrup for a long time. After removing from the syrup, the sugary coat is left to dry and harden on the surface. The final touch involves garnishing them with chopped pistachios and adding the exotic touch of rose petals, dried fruits and a lacing of edible silver or gold foil.
Once complete, the Balushahi is a true flavourful wonder that provides the perfect balance of a moist interior and a crispy exterior. The sweet is indeed reminiscent of its regal past and truly lives up to its reputation of being a divine offering.