Brown balls and white balls. Those are our punny names for gulab jamuns or rosgullas. But I’ve not heard any jokes about honey balls or snow balls yet. Is it because East Indian honey balls or snow balls are lesser known and only belong to a small part of society?
Honey balls or snow balls are also called popoges, aitolas, eyetolas or honeycomb balls. And yeah, they’re only made and eaten by just 0.00007 percent of the planet? (Merely 5 lakh human beings on a planet of 7 billion are East Indians.)
Anyways, my granny’s version of the honey balls recipe was the best. I know, I know. I can’t say that because there are a lot of great versions out there. But really, everyone else says that too. 😉 Aunty Muffy always says, “My godma’s sweets are the best!”
I started writing this post the last time we made honey balls, on the 27th of May. So the last time granny ate them was the 28th of May. I wonder if she knew that it was the last time she’d eat them, ever? Granny passed in July 2018. And she’s probably up there in heaven making honey balls for long-lost relatives now.
And here is a pic of granny in her younger years stirring the sugarmel on the stove at the old house.
But now that granny’s gone to make sweets in heaven, it’s best to put up her version of this traditional East Indian recipe here on the blog before it reaches the forgotten pages of history.
Honey ball or Snow ball Recipe
Start off with beating the egg whites to a stiff froth and setting aside.
Next add in the yolks and sugar, followed by the sojee (semolina) and the coconut juice, and mix till the mixture is smooth. If you don’t have coconut juice, use coconut milk. I know some other people use just plain old milk too. It works fine. There may only be a small difference in taste.
Nowadays toddy (fermented sap of the palm tree) is not always available at the drop of a hat. So we use yeast instead. Proof the yeast in warm water before adding it to the mixture.
Lastly, add in the vanilla extract before leaving the mixture to rest overnight.
The next morning, we make the sugar syrup that’s called the honey by boiling a kg of sugar with 3 to 4 cups of water and 4 to 5 crushed cardamom pods. Simple does it. We don’t make too much honey so that we don’t have too much sugar. It also means, we can make sweets more often. 😉
I don’t know what the cast iron pan that we use to make the honey balls is called in East Indian Marathi, but otherwise, it’s called an appe pan or appam pan. If you do know the Eastya word, please let me know and I’ll add it in here. We drop a few spoons of ghee into the pan and heat it.
When the pan is hot enough, sis tests the first few honey balls to confirm they’re forming correctly. Always good to test your East Indian dessert balls.
She then turns the East Indian sweet balls over, adds a bit of ghee again and lets them fry.
The next step naturally is to take a break, eat those honey balls and decide if anything more needs to be added in. Once the tastebuds approve, the rest of the honey balls aka snow balls are fried.
The snow balls go straight from the frying pan into honey pot and grow a bit in size. Fluffy like my cousin says. By the way, honey balls are also called snow balls because they’re white in color.
This is about 3 pan fulls of honey balls minus a few that wound their way into some stomachs for quality testing. We keep at it till this pot is full. Sometimes we have to make more syrup, but most often we try not to. Less sugar, more sweets. 🙂
The recipe here makes enough honey balls to last quite a few days. So if you’re making for just a few people, probably try halving or quartering the ingredients. Stores in the fridge for days or weeks. Of course we don’t let them last so long.
What’s specially different in your grandma’s East Indian honey ball recipe? Or is it similar to my granny’s recipe?
My sister has created her own twist on the honey balls. She makes chocolate-flavored honey balls with maple syrup. Follow this link to see how she does it!
Honey Balls or Snow Balls
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Ingredients for the Snow Balls or Honey Balls
- 250 gms Semolina
- 200 ml Coconut Milk Or Milk Or Coconut Juice
- 4 Eggs
- 150 gms Sugar
- 250 ml Palm Toddy (or 5 g yeast)
- 3 drops Vanilla Essence
- 50 gms Ghee (Indian clarified butter)
Ingredients for the Honey
- 400 gms Sugar
- 750 ml Water
- 4 pods Green Cardamon Pods (Choti Elaichi) Crushed
Honey Balls in Sugar Syrup
- Beat the egg whites to a stiff froth and set them aside.
- Next add in the yolks and sugar, followed by the sojee (semolina) and the coconut juice, and mix till the mixture is smooth. If you don’t have coconut juice, use coconut milk or regular milk.
- Proof the yeast in warm water and add it to the mixture.
- Add in the vanilla extract and leave the mixture to rest overnight. (Or for at least 6 to 8 hours.)
- Make the sugar syrup by boiling a kg of sugar with 3 to 4 cups of water and 4 to 5 crushed cardamom pods.
- Find your honey ball pan, add a few spoons of ghee to it and heat it.
- When the pan is hot enough, add the batter and fry on both sides.
- Soak the honey balls in the sugar syrup till they’re fluffy and serve. (They can be eaten hot or cold and taste amazing either ways.)
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- If you don’t have coconut milk, you can use plain milk or coconut juice.
- Try my sister’s recipe to make chocolate-flavored honey balls.
Nutrition (Per Serving)
Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.
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East Indian Meals & Desserts from Abby's Plate
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