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November 4, 2012


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one string consistency

I wanted to make this post on"How to make sugar syrup recipe for Indian sweets with step by step pictures" for long time. Sugar syrup consistency is most important to make a perfect sweet. Starting from Gulab jamun till chikki, all the sweets depend on the consistency of the sugar syrup. When I was a beginner, I dint have the confidence to do this post because making sweets is always a nightmare to me.

 Before my marriage, I have seen my mom making Nei urundai , thenkuzhal  & thukkada for every diwali. My dad used to buy all the popular sweets from famous stalls and we enjoy eating varieties of sweets & savouries. 

After marriage , the story is just the reverse. My in-laws & my hubby never buy sweets from stalls for diwali because my MIL is a pro in making sweets. She can easily make badushah , adhirasam ,burfis, halwa etc and they taste out-of-the world. It took almost 5 yrs for me to try sweets on my own.I started making some easy sweets like rava ladoo for last year diwali..

          We all know most of our Indian sweets are based on sugar & jaggery. The success of the sweet mainly depends on the consistency of syrup. So I would like to share the different stages of sugar & jaggery syrup and some tips to identify the right consistency which I learnt with the help of tips given by experts like Mrs. Mallika badrinath, Menu rani chellam. I have tried my best to make u understand the various stages with step by step pics.. This post is purely for beginners like me & for my own reference.. Experts , please excuse & do share your tips for better understanding.


I used 1/2 cup ( 100 gms) of sugar & 1/4 cup of water .
  • Take a proper vessel of suitable size. Please do not use copper – bottom kadai or iron kadai because these vessels retain heat for long time and may change the consistency of the syrup even after taking out from the fire. Also iron kadai changes the color of the end product. If you are planning to use these vessels, its better to transfer the syrup to another vessel after the desired consistency is reached.
  • For lesser quantity of syrup, use small or medium sized vessel. Now take the sugar in the bowl or kadai and add water just to cover it. Here I used 1/2 cup sugar & 1/4 cup water. The more water you add, more time is taken to reach the consistency. Usually the ratio of sugar & water is 2:1.
Sugar scum tile1
  • Keep the fire in low ( Sim) and allow the sugar to dissolve completely by stirring well. Make sure there are no sugar crystals at the sides of the pan. Wipe them and add to the syrup.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved completely & started boiling, add 1 tbsp of milk to remove the scum. Always keep the flame low. After few seconds , the scum floats on top. Remove using a perforated ladle. Finally strain the syrup using a strainer and discard the scum/ dirt. Now your syrup looks clean. This step is optional if your sugar is of good quality.
sugar scum tile2
sugar scum tile3
  • Again keep in low fire and start to boil for various consistencies. After it started to boil , please do not stir or disturb. Over stirring will affect the correct consistency.
  •  Its always better to switch off the flame while you test the syrup in your fingers. If it continues to boil, it may quickly go the next stage and cheat you.

    I have given the definition of each stage & the sweets which are made in that consistency. I have covered the most important stages with pictures. I am not able to check 3 string consistency as I can't bear the heat.. My fingers started burning. So I poured the syrup in a small plate and proceeded further. I switched off the flame in each stage to take pictures. If you have any doubts in the pictures or steps , please comment it. I’ll try to clear them..
    Please keep in mind the time taken for the syrup to reach consistencies varies based on the vessel we use , flame and the amount of water we add to sugar.

    Take the required amount of sugar in a bowl/kadai and add water to cover the sugar. Here I used 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water . Beginners, always keep the flame low while making sugar syrup else you may miss the right stage. Similarly its always better to switch off the flame while you test the syrup in your fingers. If it boils, it may quickly go the next stage and cheat you.

    sugar syrup tile1
    THIN SYRUP : This is the first stage. The sugar dissolves completely, clears & it gets a shine. After removing the scum , the syrup boils and gets a shine. In this stage the syrup wont be sticky just shiny .This stage is not required for any sweets. So it is not much important. For beginners, keep the flame low always.

    STICKY SYRUP : This is the second stage. Here the sugar syrup becomes little thick.Take little syrup in a ladle and touch it with ur  fore finger. When you slide the thumb over fore finger , it feels sticky. This is used for Gulab jamun.

    HALF – STRING CONSISTENCY  Its always better to switch off the flame while you test the syrup in your fingers. If it boils, it may quickly go the next stage and cheat you. In this stage , when you test between ur thumb and fore finger , it strings & cuts off immediately. This syrup is used for jangiri, jelabi , Kajas, gulgul. Some people say sticky & half string consistencies are similar. So both can be used to make gulab jamun. In the below picture, hope you can see the string is cutting when I stretch it.

    sugar syrup tile2

    This is the most important stage. Here a thin long string is formed up to 1- 2 inches when tested in between thumb and fore finger. One more way to check the syrup is : pour the syrup in a small plate with water. It wont dissolve immediately and when you try to gather the syrup, it will be dissolved. Also when you pour the syrup in a ladle, the last drop falls slowly and forms a small string. Kaju katli, badam burfi , Thosha , badushah, mysore pak are made in this syrup. Refer the cover picture too.  Its always better to switch off the flame while you test the syrup in your fingers. If it boils, it may quickly go the next stage and cheat you.

    sugar syrup tile3

    TWO STRING CONSISTENCY Two strings are formed when tested between fingers. Generally this syrup crystallizes very soon . So sweets which require a sugar coated look need this consistency. cashew burfi ,boondi ladoo, mohanthal  is made in this consistency..

    sugar syrup tile8

    Here string becomes thicker and when tested , string is formed in 2, 3 places. Dhal burfi requires this syrup. Sugar crystallizes very soon in this stage.

    Pour little syrup in water, it can be gathered using ur fingers but you can;t make a ball. It is required for some burfis and boondi ladoo can also be made in this consistency. 
    sugar syrup tile4

    Pour a small amount of syrup in a plate of water. If rolled with fingers, syrup should form a small ball in the water itself.. You can take and make a soft ball out of it. It is called as thakkali padham in tamil. This is used for adhirasam.

    sugar syrup tile7

    When u pour syrup into the water & roll it , you should be able to make a ball and if you drop the ball, you’ll get a “tung” sound. The color of the ball is changed. This is used to make peanut chikkis/ kadalai mittai and pori urundai. I tested the sound by dropping it in the plate. 

    sugar syrup tile6

    The remaining stages are soft crack , hard crack & golden brown caramel ( last stage). Brown caramel stage is required for making Tirunelveli halwa recipe. So I have shared about this in that post. As we don’t need them for making many sweets, I have not discussed here. They are used for making toffees.

    Jaggery syrup is almost the same as sugar syrup. The widely used consistency is soft ball & hard ball stage which is used for making adhirasampori urundai & peanut chikki . So I have given the pictures for those stages alone. For making syrup, add very little water just to cover the jaggery.This helps in reaching the consistency faster..
    jaggery syrup tile1
    • After the jaggery is melted completely , strain it to remove impurities and again allow it to boil.It becomes frothy.At one stage , it becomes thick like honey and when you pour it , the last few drops drop very slowly forming a string.
    jaggery syrup tile2
    • Now pour this syrup in a plate with little water. U’ll be able to gather and make a small ball.This ball has no proper shape. This is the right stage for making adhirasam. Add this syrup to the rice flour, make dough and proceed.
    jaggery syrup tile3
    • For hard ball stage, allow the jaggery to boil for few more seconds. It will thicken. When u pour few drops on a plate with water and gather , it will roll and u can make a hard ball. If you drop the ball , you’ll get a “tung” sound..

    jaggery syrup tile4

    • Once the sugar is dissolved completely , do not keep stirring. Over stirring will affect the right consistency.Keep the flame low and stir if needed.
    • After the sticky stage (pisukku padam) is reached , the half string consistency is reached within a minute, Stay alert.
    • Similarly one string is also reached within few seconds. The consistency should be checked when the syrup is hot . when the syrup becomes warm , it will reach the next stage and may cheat u. So I checked everytime it by switching off the stove.
    •  The  time taken to reach the consecutive stages is very less. The total process gets over by 15 mins in low flame.
    • When you feel you have missed the correct stage, just switch off the flame  , add little water , mix well and proceed again to get the perfect stage.
    • For dry jamun, badusha, jangiri .. by the time u dip them the sugar may crystallize. To avoid this add few drops of lime juice . OR add little water , boil it and again make the syrup.

        I’ve tried my best to explain the stages according to my understanding.Take this as reference and try. U can surely get them by practice because if i can make, anyone can make it easily Winking smile

        Here is the link for the video for different stages of sugar and jaggery syrup.

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        Sravs said...

        Nice Informative Post !!

        Jeyashris Kitchen said...

        Very useful post Chitra. Well explained

        Priya Suresh said...

        Omg, chitra wonderful job dear, beautifully explained and definitely very useful for many of us.

        Kitchen Chronicles said...

        You have done a very wonderful job. Nice way to explain. It will surely be very helpful for the starters. I also took long years to learn this, since I used to just read it or hear it that we have to make a particular consistency syrup, but no visual explanation. Real great job, keep it up.

        divya said...

        nice post dear...

        Unknown said...

        I can keep this page for my reference always.hats off to you...u have worked hard.thank u.

        chef and her kitchen said...

        Thats a beautiful post chitra..good work

        Valarmathi Sanjeev said...

        Great job Chitra, wonder and useful post, well explained. Bookmarked :)

        Saraswathi Ganeshan said...

        Very useful post dear...Pictures are very clear..Kudos to your effort..

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        Laavanya said...

        Very informative - thank you.

        Jingalala said...

        Chitra, I think even teachers will not share such elaborate instruction! The post has got so much of details!

        radha said...

        This is a class for food science students. Great job.

        Sudha Sabarish said...

        Very useful post and a great job done.Do keep on posting these kind of useful posts.

        Raks said...

        Very useful post :) should be helping a lot

        Unknown said...

        Thats very informative!very useful for reluctatnt sweet makers

        Shabitha Karthikeyan said...

        Very informative post I read it twice. Good Job !!

        Vimitha Durai said...

        Thats a very useful post dear... Great jobseekers

        Unknown said...

        very informative and useful post!! love this one!!
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        Aruna Manikandan said...

        nice post chitra :)

        Unknown said...

        Very useful post dear...

        virunthu unna vaanga said...

        wow u have done very gr8 post dear... will help for beginners...
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        Prema said...

        Nice post chitra,very useful...

        Chitra said...

        Thanks a lot friends.. @ jingalala-mangala, therincho theriyamalo oru unmaiya soliteenga. I was a lecturer in college. Thats y i've given such an elaborate post, konjam bore thaan .. hehe ;)

        luz said...

        thks for the elaborate explanation.One question about the consistency. in 1 stiring stage u say when poured over water a thread is formed. Is it the outline ur refering as thread. please clarify . thanks once again.

        Chitra said...

        @luz , Its not only the outline , when u drop the syrup in the plate , it wont dissolve and it forms a thread like thing. just try moving the syrup , it wont dissolve immediately..I'll try to post a clear picture for that..

        Unknown said...

        dear i tried this but mine jaggery syrup went toooooo watery wat should i do can u help me for making suliyan

        Chitra said...

        Hi , If u add more water to the jaggery , ur syrup will take too much time to thicken. Always add water just to cover the jaggery. ie , jaggery should be slightly immersed in water. For suzhiyan , i think u r asking abt the pooranam/ stuffing. For stuffing , please refer this link.Here i have posted on how to make pooranam for kozhukattai. We make the sam stuffing for suzhiyan too. Please mail me if u have any doubts further..Mail me @ [email protected].. Please refer the below link for channa dal pooran for making suzhiyan..:)

        Sundari Nathan said...

        very useful post!! perfect for beginers!!

        mullaimadavan said...

        Nice post Chitra with detailed explanation. You've done a great job!

        inny said...

        Very clear explanation. This helped me big time!

        Jessi paul said...

        Very useful post.But when should we check. While its very hot in the fingers or jus cool down a bit by blowing and then shud we check?

        Chitra said...

        Hi if you take a drop of syrup from the back of ladle it will be warm enough to handle.But make sure the flame is very low while you check the consistency so that it won't change.

        lovecooking said...

        hi dear
        i have one question. how did u create this comment box?
        I am trying to create a nw blog of mine. so need suggestion.....

        Chitra said...

        Hi, This comment box comes automatically in blogger templates.

        Easyfoodsmith said...

        Hi Chitra! this is a very informative and helpful post. Can you please tell me what consistency would work for nariyal laddu? I intend to use khopra (dry whole coconut and then grate it). Thanks in advance :)

        Aarti.G said...

        Chitra, you have explained beautifully. Very rarely does anyone take so much of effort.
        Thank you so much. I am going to save this for life.
        By the way, this is my first ever comment, after reading a post. I never have felt the need to share my views with anyone.
        Your explanation and the video is so fabulous, that I absolutely had to comment.

        Chitra said...

        Thank you so much for your sweet words. Iam glad you find this post helpful 😊

        Unknown said...

        What temperature (or sugar concentration) corresponds to each of the stages at the low end of the sugar syrup scale (1 thread, 2 thread, 3 thread)?

        Unknown said...

        What temperature (or sugar concentration) corresponds to the 1-sring, 2-string, and 3-string stages of sugar syrup preparation?

        Chitra said...

        Hi, Sorry I am not sure about temperature.