…………….and I found it. At a wayward Duwanagiriya (a tiny box type boutique on wheels) in front of a duplicate Devon Restaurant in the heart of Polonnaruwa.I have wasted a multitude of Rs 10/20/30s upon this quest over the years, but to no avail. Years of tongue colouring with various shades of outrageous dyes, suffering with the lingering chemical-ish tastes upon the tongue for weeks afterwards, yakking at the pungent oily aftertaste of boondi left on the shelves for too long, coated upon the tongue, seems that it all paid off. I’ve finally found the perfect boondi.
While Boondi is originally an Indian sweetmeat, us Sri Lankans, true to our nature have made it our own. The result is a blood red coloured, somewhat chemical-tasting overly sweet batter oozing with oil. While the result is not always pleasing, it sure is a good mood fixer. Girls and boys, if you are going through that moping period right after a bad breakup and feel the need to stuff your faces under the guise of stuffing that gaping hole in your heart (exaggeration people, exaggeration), boondi is your perfect fix.
Anyhow, while the Indian boondi is made out of chickpea flour, ours is made out of good ol pan piti (wheat flour). One reason being pan piti is much cheaper than chickpea flour and therefore it being more popular (in a nation where bread has become a staple, this comes as no wonder). While the Indian boondi is fried in ghee or vegetable oil, ours is fried in good ol pol thel (coconut oil). Once again, ghee and vegetable oil are a bit on the expensive side whereas we have plenty of coconut trees growing about! So why not Lankanize the boondi with our very own pol thel? Another difference between the Indian boondi and our is that while the syrup in which the Indian boondi is dunked in after frying is fragranced with a myriad of spices, our buggers just don’t bother. In a way its a good thing. Makes our boondi taste a tad bit more raw and realistic.
Also, Indian boondi is of more mellow colours. Ours, like the people within this island is an intense and fiery red, passionate as blood and vivid as life itself. Indian boondi is small, dainty and droplet-like whereas ours are big and bold, large chunks of uncivilized looking pieces. Which does make all the difference in the world, texturally. Theirs is smooth and dainty, ours, coarse and a quite a mouthful. Bold is the word, just like our people.
However, this boondi is a cross between the Indian and the Sri Lankan. It was still warm and you can see it was fresh. Instead of sugar crystals forming on the outside of the pieces, the syrup has been absorbed well into it. When bitten into, the sweet juice just squirts into the mouth while the dough itself just melts between the syrup and the tongue. It was a boondi nicely done.
It was with great self-control that the above photo was taken. It was all I could do to keep myself from reaching out and empting the plate into the bottomless pit that is my stomach. So appreciate the effort please.