Sieve besan, add cooking soda (sodium bi carbonate), salt, food colour and mix with water in a bowl. The consistency should not be too thick or too thin. Just right enough to get through the holes of the ladle easily.
Heat oil and use a big slotted spoon to make boondis as shown below. You will be needing two big ladles with holes as seen in the picture below(slotted) . One for making boondi and one for draining from oil. Use another deep ladle to spoon the batter.
Pour one ladle of batter over the ladle with hole holding it just above the oil and spread it. Make sure to hold the ladle high enough. If its too close, tails will be forming in the boondi.
Wipe the ladle with the karandi as seen below everytime. Fry with constant turning to ensure even cooking and drain once the bubbles ceases, no need to wait until it gets very crispy. Just make sure its cooked.
Drain in paper towel. Repeat to finish the batter.
Then start with the sugar syrup now. In a heavy bottomed vessel, boil sugar with water enough to immerse it. Boil until 2 string consistency. If you swipe the back of ladle and check between ur thumb and forefinger, there will be two strings forming in-between the fingers. Or you can keep a small bowl of water and pour a little syrup in it, it will not dissolve and you can move the syrup and gather it. Switch off the stove. This is tricky, but after one string consistency reaches, this stage comes quickly. Make sure to keep the flame in medium or low to not pass this stage.
You can add a tsp of lemon juice to prevent crystallization. Add the cardamom powder and remove from the flame. Add essence if adding to it. You can add food colour in syrup too.
Add boondi to this. Fry broken cashews, followed by raisins, cloves and add it to the boondi. Do not over mix as it might crystallize.
Add edible camphor as shown very less, powdered between your fingers, add nutmeg if desired. Add kalkandu. Mix well.
When the boondi is warm enough to handle, make laddoos. Do not let the mixture cool down. Please refer the video below to see how I shape the ladoos.
I use gloves, but its optional, you can use your bare hands. No need to grease your hands. Just squeeze and press to roll the ladoos, the syrup will ooze out while you roll and it helps in holding the ladoos as it cools down, the syrup solidifies and holds the boondis together to ladooooo :)