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? 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. If you do, 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?
Chocolate Honey Balls with Maple Syrup
My sister has created her own twist on the honey balls. She makes chocolate flavored honey balls with maple syrup.
Here’s how she does it.
The main steps are the same as regular honey balls, but after she has mixed everything, she adds in 3 tablespoons of cocoa.
Leave the mix to rise overnight as usual.
In the morning, make a sugar-maple syrup mel. While making the sugar mel or sugar syrup, reduce the amount of sugar. Use only 750 grams sugar to make the mel and add 250 ml maple syrup to it once it starts to boil.
Add the batter that’s been resting overnight to a honey ball pan, fry the on both sides, and add the balls to the sugar-maple syrup mix.
Add the chocolate honey balls here and that’s it.
Honey Balls or Snow Balls
Ingredients for the Snow Balls or Honey Balls
- 500 g Semolina
- 2 Coconuts Juiced
- 9 Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Palm Toddy (or 10 g yeast)
- 3 drops Vanilla Essence
- 100 g Ghee (Indian clarified butter)
For the chocolate Honey Balls (Add to the ingredients above)
- 3 tbsp Cocoa
Ingredients for the Honey
- 1 kg Sugar
- 3 cups Water
- 5 pods Cardamom Pods
Ingredients for the Maple Syrup Honey
- 750 g Sugar
- 250 ml Maple Syrup
- 3 cups Water
Honey Balls in Sugar Syrup
- Beat 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 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 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.)
Chocolate Honey Balls with Maple Syrup
- Follow the same recipe for the honey balls, but after mixing everything, add in 3 tablespoons of cocoa and leave to rise overnight as usual.
- In the morning, make a sugar-maple syrup with only 750 grams sugar and 3 to 4 cups of water. Add 250 ml maple syrup to it once it starts to boil.
- Add the batter to the honey ball pan and fry on both sides.
- Add the chocolate honey balls to the sugar-maple syrup mix and let them fluff up before serving.