Sift besan into a large bowl. Add pinch of baking soda and 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons water and mix to form a free flowing batter.
Let the batter rest for 15 minutes and then remaining 1 tablespoon water and mix. The batter is now ready.
Heat oil or ghee in a kadai/wok on medium-high heat. I used a mix of oil and ghee to fry boondi.
Place the ladle 3 to 4 inches above the surface of oil (not very high else boondi will have tail). Once oil is hot, pour batter into the ladle, do not spread by spoon. Let it fall on its own.
Move the ladle around the kadai as the batter falls, so that boondis don't clump together and spread well.
Fry for 30 to 40 seconds, do not over cook. Remove the boondi immediately from hot oil.
For the next batch, wash your ladle and wipe it dry. Then repeat the same process. If you don't wipe the ladle after each batch, boondi won't be round.Fry in batches until the batter is over. Keep all the fried boondi on a plate.
To make the sugar syrup, heat 1 cup sugar (200 grams) with 3/4 cup water (6 oz/180 ml) on medium heat.Add food color if using (optional).
Let the sugar dissolve. Then let it boil for 3 minutes (not cooking for any string consistency here). Add the cardamom powder and also add whole cloves.
Turn off the heat and add the fried boondi. Mix well.
Cover the pan and let the boondi sit in the pan until it soaks all the sugar syrup (chasni). Stir the boondi every 1 hour or so. Let sit overnight.
Sweet boondi is ready to serve!
Use a ladle with larger holes if you want bigger boondis.
For a crispy sugar coating, cook the sugar syrup until it reaches one string consistency and then add the fried boondi to it.