I don’t have a particular affinity towards Indian sweets. The Dessert section of my blog bears adequate testimony to that. The only Indian sweets I eat and truly love are kaju barfi, kalo jaam and rabri and not to mention Nolen Gur er anything! But there are certain sweets that I’ve grown up with, that I’ve seen thamma religiously making in the kitchen, that I’ve eaten for days after Sunday lunch. I’m talking of malpuas. Malpuas are generally a festive dessert, which is sinfully deep-fried and then soaked in a sugar syrup. But I remember in my house it was almost a weekly or monthly affair. The elan with which thamma would drop the batter in her hot kadhai and fry them like a pro had me mesmerised. I would often stand with a bowl of the sugar syrup next to her, waiting eagerly for the neat little discs to get the perfect crisp. She would dunk the fried malpuas in my bowlful of syrup and I would gobble them up like a greedy pig. “The secret to a malpua’s flavour lies in the black pepper powder,” she told me once, and it seemed so strange to me that I haven’t forgotten it till date! I have omitted the fennel bit from the traditional recipe because I can’t stand the bite of fennel. You can, by all means, include it. I also added some crushed pineapple and raisins just for the fruity hint, but you can totally do away with it.
This was the first time I was making malpuas, and I’m a self confessed under-confident deep-fry-er. But oh, these malpuas were perfectly fried. Initially I was a bit upset with the dark brown edges but my mother told me that’s how it was meant to be because that meant it was perfectly crispy. And yes, they were!
Makes 8 malpuas
Whole milk: 350 ml
Flour/maida: 6 tbsp
Semolina/Sooji: 3 tbsp
Pineapple, crushed: 200 gm
Raisins: 4 tbsp
Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
Caster sugar: 2 tbsp
Soda bicarbonate: 1/4 tsp
For sugar syrup:
Water: 1 cup
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
Saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk: a pinch
Oil: for deep frying
Pistachio, slivered: for garnish
1. In a deep-bottomed pan, heat milk and bring to boil a few times till it thicken s a bit. Ideally, 350 ml should get reduced to 250 ml. Once that happens, set aside and allow to cool.
2. While the milk is cooling, make the sugar syrup. In a pan, heat water and sugar till the syrup is of one thread consistency. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and the saffron along with the milk. Stir once and leave it to cool.
3. Now get started with the batter. In a bog bowl, take the flour and semolina and add the milk bit by bit till a smooth lump-free mixture is formed. Add the pineapples leaving a couple of tbsp for garnish. Sprinkle the sugar, cardamom powder and pepper powder. Mix well. The batter consistency should be neither too thick now too thin. Cover and keep aside for 3-4 hours.
4. Five minutes before frying, add the bicarbonate to the batter and mix again.
5. In a non-stick kadhai, heat sufficient oil for deep-frying (yes, sufficient. Don’t skimp, else your malpuas will break). Once the oil is piping hot, ladle some batter in a roundish spoon and drop in the oil slightly spreading it. Adjust heat. Flip after 2 minutes and cook on the other side till golden brown in the centre and crispy and dark brown on the edges. Take off from heat and dunk them in the sugar syrup.
6. You can either take them out from the syrup after 5-10 minutes and serve them individually with a little bit of syrup on top or rest the big fat bowl with malpua, sugar syrup et al, and allow your guests to help themselves. Don’t forget to top the malpua stack with some crushed pineapple and slivered pistachios.
Eat Like a Bong: Day 10
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