Being a bengali, I am expected to swear by fish curries and have an insatiable sweet tooth.
Sadly, much to the disappointment of my parents, I fit into neither of these requirements as a standard bangali. Though I do enjoy a good fish preparation once in a while, and more than enjoy a bengali sweet drenching in sugar syrup; I never had the urge to pop by the neighbourhood sweet store and digest the Rs. 3 sandesh just because I was craving same.
Now we were talking about Sabudana Vada, it would be a completely different story.
(Yes, it is my find of this academic year. Sabudana Vada’s are delicious, and the sweet curd it comes with just satisfies the soul.)
Getting back to the point, despite never being the sandesh lover I was always expected to be since birth, I do however have a couple of bengali deserts which bring out the ‘craver’ in me. A few of them being –
- Narkol Nadu – This gorgeous ball of deliciousness, which is made of grated coconut and a lot of jaggery and milk.
- Patishapta – It’s a crepe of sorts, made of rice, and stuffed with the same coconut and jaggery fillings we talked about, which is then drenched in a specific type of kheer (or payesh in bangla)
And last but not the least, is the Malpua.
Malpua can be considered to be India’s reply to America’s Pancakes. It’s sweet, it’s thin, it’s crispy, it’s bursting with flavours, and of course, drenched in a sugar syrup. It’s warmth, moistness, and crispiness all in the same bite can be oddly reassuring after a large Sunday lunch with the family.
Atleast for me, it’s makes me feel right at home. For both my grandmothers have left such an indelible imprint in my childhood with such ridiculously addictive treats, it almost makes me furious at my mum for not making them often as “too much of this will lead to diabetes!”
Pish Posh, I say.
Here, I present to you, the Malpua.
Serves : 2 Difficulty : Easy Peasy. When that MS fellow in Amreeka can make it too, why can’t you?
Preparation Time : 2 minutes.
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Ingredients For the Malpua
- 4 Tbsp Flour (Maida)
- 1/4 to 1/3 Cup Milk (Or enough to mix the maida into a smooth runny batter.)
- 1 teasp Saunf ( Fennel Seeds)
- 2 Badi Elaichi ( Black Cardamom)
- A pinch of Baking Soda
For the Sugar Syrup
- 1/3 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
Starting off! In a bowl, sift through the flour and baking soda together. Make sure to not add more than a pinch of Baking Soda ( If I had to put a number on it, I’d say it’d be 1/4 of a teaspoon). Too much Baking Soda, and it’ll have an acidy taste to it. You definitely do NOT want that.
Now, add in the milk. Pour it in a bit by bit. You need just enough milk to make this a smooth runny batter.
Yes, it has to look like the Cerelac formula your mum fed you when you didn’t have any teeth. It just does, okay? Now, throw in the saunf. And break upon the seeds inside the Badi Elaichi, and throw it in the batter. These two spices give the malpua the most amazing, refreshing and intoxicating flavour.
Fold it all in. Just a suggestion from my grandmother. At this point, you can just add a tiny spoon of ghee or vegetable oil to the batter. Something about, it makes it smoother and moist. As we were out of ghee, I went with a few drops of vegetable oil. And mixed the entire batter together.
And I let the flavours get to know each other a bit.Because I’m nice like that. At this point, we need to get our sugar syrup ready. So, drop sugar into a heavy pan.
I used castor sugar, as smaller crystals meant quicker dissolving and thus, a quicker made syrup. Don’t fret. Regular sugar will do just fine. So, let the water follow the sugar into the bowl.
Let them both simmer on a low heat for a few minutes. In about 3 – 4 minutes, you’ll see the sugar syrup boiling away furiously. Like this.
Take out a spoon, check if the syrup is thick enough and take it off the heat. Sugar syrup done! Now, take a non stick pan, a skillet, or whatever catches your fancy. Pour in some oil, and follow it with a small dollop of the batter. Make it a thin, round shape like this.
As the batter is runny on its own, it by itself will roll out into a circle, just help it get there, won’t you? Let it be for about 30 seconds or so, and soon you’ll notice the edges going brown. Like this.
I might have let it get a bit too brown, as I was busy getting a decent shot. But pretend this is a a more golden brown, shall we? Okay? Awesome. So now, once edges are brown, it is time to flip! Flip!
So gorgeous. *Sigh* Let the other side cook for about 30 more seconds, and take it out. Repeat till the batter exhausts. Then, its time to stack em’ up. And then, drizzle the gorgeous syrup all over them
Soon, a lovely glaze stares back at you from a bowl.
Now let these malpuas soak in the sugar for a while before you eat them. Longer the soak, more deeper the flavour. And the best part? The crisp of the edges never goes away!
So much happiness.
You could also make them SUPER crispy like I had done with this other batch. (Super Crispy = Super Awesosme, in my books)
I had made these for my darling father, as a gesture for Fathers Day a couple of days back. No no, it wasn’t because I’d forgotten to get him a real present, or card. Or even wish him in the morning. But because it was my plan all this while.
No, really. It was!
But irrespective, the sweet tooth loved it. 🙂
If you have one too, I’m sure you’ll adore this quick fix of a lovely dessert just as much.