Khirer Singara or Mawa Samosa : Holi Special

Spring can be felt in the air with the trees donning luminous colours, looking orange and yellow and grey. The Sun is soft, while the wind blows slowly and keeps whistling. Then comes the festival of holi when India becomes jubilant with extravagant colours. However the festival already has been started in Bengal, we celebrate Holi a day prior  which is known as ‘Dol Yatra’.

Sweets are synonymous with holi and I found ‘Gujiya’ is made rampantly in north Indian household during holi. Here I thought a little, stirred my creativity and came up with this Mawa samosa, which in fact is pretty close to Gujiya. However, it certainly punches the surprise as samosa is known to be the savoury delicacy. The surprise soon transforms into a pure pleasure and satisfies the sweet teeth to fullest.

Khirer Singara (Mawa Samosa)

Khirer Singara (Mawa Samosa)

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Malpua

Malpua is a pretty common Indian dessert, fascinating in taste and lucrative in looks. I am always intrigued by its colour, off white around the center with the edges appearing brown. It can be quickly described as the Indian version of fried pan cake sans the egg and soaked into sugar syrup. Pretty easy to cook at home, malpua is a sheer delight with the combination of semolina and flour with the seeds of fennel and falvour of ghee making each bite special.

Malpua

Malpua

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Balushahi

The fever of making sweet is still there for me. As the Jalebi which I made a day before diwali, vanished in seconds, I thought to prepare another sweet on the very day of diwali. We call it Balushahi back home, which is quite an well known Indian dessert made from a stiff dough of all purpose flour, ghee and a pinch of baking soda. These are small doughnut like disks, fried in ghee or oil and dunked in thick sugar syrup to get a sugar coating over it. Containing a rich sweetness with flaky texture, Balushahis can well make the occasions even more special.

Balushahi

Balushahi

Ingredients for 10 pieces :

  1. Plain flour – ¾ cup
  2. Sodium bicarbonate – 1/8 teaspoon
  3. Ghee/Clarified butter – 3 tbspoon
  4. Plain yogurt (whisked) – 2 tbspoon
  5. Cooking oil/Ghee for deep frying
  6. Sugar – 1 cup
  7. Water – ½ cup
  8. Green cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon (optional)
  9. Sliced pistachio for garnishing (optional)

Procedure :

Shift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.

Add ghee to the flour mixture and rub with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Now add yogurt and make a dough (add few drops of water if needed). Don’t over knead the dough as we don’t need it to be very smooth and soft . Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes.

Then make 10 small flat balls out of the dough. Make a small indentation at their centers using your thumb. The balls need not be very smooth either, so don’t overwork with them.

Making Balushahi balls

Making Balushahi balls

 Now heat sufficient amount of oil/ghee in a frying pan over medium flame. Gently slide the dough balls into the oil and deep fry them over low flame. Don’t overcrowd the pan, fry them in batches. Gradually the balushahi will start floating at the top. Turn gently and fry the other side till golden.

Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel to soak the excess oil. Let them cool and reach to the room temperature.

After deep-frying

After deep-frying

To make sugar syrup, take sugar and water in a medium size pan and heat over medium-high flame. As all the sugar dissolves and syrup starts boiling, add cardamom powder and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until attains two-thread consistency.

Remove the syrup from gas and dip cold balushahi in it. Let them soak the sugar syrup for 1.5 – 2 hours.

Gently remove balushahi on a serving plate and top with pistachio slices.

Serve after 1 hour to have a sugar coating at the surface of Balushahi.

Balushahi is ready to be served

Balushahi is ready to be served

Note :

  1. Fry the balushahi over low flame otherwise only the outer part will turn golden and inner part remain uncooked. It may take some time, so have patience.
  2. Don’t make the dough very soft and smooth otherwise you will miss its flaky texture.
  3. If you don’t want the sugar-coating on your Balushahi then add 1 teaspoon of lime juice to the sugar syrup in order to prevent sugar crystallisation.

Diwali Special – Jalebi or Jilipi

“Deepavali” or “Diwali” is the festival of light celebrated all over India. Every household gets lightened with “diya” or candle or electric lights. We enjoy the festival to its fullest by setting various colourful crackers on fire, which is the most attractive part for me. 🙂

For Bengalis Diwali is also significant for “Kali puja”. Just a day before diwali we worship goddess Kali and it is celebrated all over West Bengal. Again Khichuri Bhog is the main prasad for Kali puja.

To celebrate diwali in my own way, I decided to prepare some sweets at home. I have already tried and posted the recipes of Rasgulla, Kalakand, Rasmalai, Gulab Jamun and Shandesh. These are mostly “chena” or Indian cottage cheese based desserts. This time I preferred  to try something different, easy to make and a significant Diwali sweet and I  came up with the idea of  “Jalebi”.

Jalebi is a very popular Indian dessert made from flour batter in pretzel or circular shape, soaked in sugar syrup. It is one of my favourite sweets. I still recall my childhood days when not for a single Sunday we could miss it in our breakfast with bread or after having “Kachori” or stuffed puri. With Diwali just around the corner, I take this opportunity to present the recipe of Jalebi, which I tried after a long time.

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali. 🙂

Jalebi or Jilipi

Jalebi or Jilipi

Ingredients for 12 – 15 pieces :

For Jalebi batter :

  1. Plain flour – ½ cup
  2. Fine semolina/Bengal gram flour – ½ teaspoon
  3. Plain yogurt – 1 tbspoon (optional)
  4. Active dry yeast – 1 teaspoon
  5. Sugar – ½ teaspoon
  6. Pinch of turmeric powder (for colour, optional)
  7. Few saffron strands grind to powder (optional)
  8. Oil – 1 teaspoon
  9. Luke warm water – 7-8 tbspoon
  10. Oil for deep frying
  11. One Ketchup bottle/Ziploc bag

For sugar syrup :

  1. Sugar – 1 cup
  2. Water – ½ cup
  3. Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon (to prevent crystallisation)
  4. Green cardamom powder – ½ teaspoon
  5. Few strands of saffron (optional)
  6. Few drops of rose water (optional)

Procedure :

Take 2 tbspoon lukewarm water in a small bowl, add sugar and dry yeast and stir well. Cover the bowl and keep aside for 10 minutes. When foam appears at the top of mixture, you are confirmed that yeast is properly activated. Otherwise you have to repeat the process.

Before activation of yeast

Before activation of yeast

After activation of yeast

After activation of yeast

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add yogurt, yeast mixture, oil and remaining water to make a lump free batter.

Now cover the bowl and place in a warm place (I put it in oven) for fermentation for 1 hour.

After 1 hour check the consistency of the batter. If it is too thick add little water. The batter should neither be very thick nor light still maintaining a pouring consistency.

Jalebi batter & Ketchup bottle

Jalebi batter & Ketchup bottle

As warm sugar syrup is required to dip the jalebis in, prepare it before frying the latter. To do that take sugar and water in a medium size pan and heat over medium flame. As all the sugar dissolves and syrup starts boiling, lower the heat and add lemon juice, cardamom powder and saffron strands. Let it simmer for 5-6 minutes and then put the gas off. We need a single-thread sugar syrup.

Simultaneously heat sufficient amount of oil in a large, flat frying pan over medium flame. The oil should be moderately hot while frying the jalebi.

Now transfer the batter into the ketchup bottle. To make jalebis, pour the batter into hot oil in a rapid circular motion starting from centre towards the edge. Make the sizes according to your preference.

Frying Jalebi

Frying Jalebi

Fry them till golden brown and then transfer to a paper towel to soak the excess oil.

Now dip the jalebis into the hot sugar syrup. Soak them for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve warm or cold. I prefer my jalebi to be hot. 🙂

Jalebi is ready to be served

Jalebi is ready to be served

 Note :

  1. I have used yeast for quick fermentation. If you don’t have yeast then leave the batter at least for 2 hours for natural fermentation (24 hours for best result). In that case, use little amount of water and ½ cup of yogurt to make the batter. Add ½ teaspoon baking powder in the batter before frying jalebis.
  2. If you don’t have ketchup bottle, then use ziploc bag. First make a tiny hole at one corner of the bag and release the air inside, then pour the batter in and zip it. When you are ready to fry the jalebis make the hole a little bigger and fold the bag like a piping bag and then follow the usual procedure.
  3. If you have excess batter then you can store it in the refrigerator for 1 week.