Take chopped bananas and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mash very well with a fork or vegetable masher. Mix the sugar with the bananas as you go on mashing.
Add the wheat flour, fennel seeds, cardamom powder and salt to the mashed banana and sugar mixture.
Add half a cup of water first. Mix well and add more water as required to make a batter that is neither too thick nor too thin. Check the notes section of this recipe card for tips on batter consistency and adding water.
The batter should be slightly thicker than a pakoda batter
In a deep pan or wok or kadai heat ghee or oil. Let the oil become hot.
Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the hot oil. Fry the gulgule on a medium flame.
Note that the oil should not be less hot, otherwise the batter may stick. The oil or ghee should not be very hot, otherwise the gulgule may get burnt.
Do not overcrowd the pan. You can easily fry 8 to 12 gulgule at a time depending on the size of the pan or kadai. While frying if the oil becomes too hot, then reduce the flame.
The gulgule will puff while frying. When one side is light golden, gently turn over and fry the other side. Keep on turning and frying them till they are golden brown. Remove them and place on kitchen paper towels for the extra oil or ghee to be absorbed.
When frying, they may stick, but get separated once browned.
Serve the gulgule or meetha pua hot with Indian tea.
Batter consistency: First add half a cup of water. Begin to mix and then add more water as and if required in parts to make a medium thick batter. The batter should be slightly thick than pakoda batter. If the flour is finely ground, then less water will be needed. If the flour is coarse, then more water will be needed. Overall you may need to add from 8 to 11 tablespoons water. I had used a slightly coarse flour and added 11 tablespoons water.
Spices: Fennel seeds are essential and cannot be skipped. But you can skip cardamom powder.
Frying: Fry on medium flame. Do not fry on a high flame. Since bananas are added, the browning will be darker. The sugars in the bananas caramelize when frying giving a dark golden color. If the fritters begin to get too much browned, then lower the flame. If the oil is too hot, then the outside part will darken and brown quickly but the inside will be undercooked.
Bananas: Adding bananas is optional. Bananas give a nice soft texture and hence I add them. If you do not add bananas, you can add about ½ cup sugar and a bit more water.
Baking powder: If you do not prefer baking powder in your sweets, then you can easily skip them. I make gulgule without baking powder too - taste wise they are good but the texture is less soft. Alternatively, for a more fluffy texture, you can add 1 teaspoon baking powder instead of ½ teaspoon baking powder.
Sweeteners: You can even use jaggery (non centrifugal indian unrefined sugar) in place of raw sugar or refined sugar.
Scaling: This gulgule recipe can be easily halved or doubled.