Shankarpali - Always in the foreground for me :)
One of the biggest pleasures of being back in India? The FOOD. And the best part of it is that you get it even without moving a finger. Like when your mother cooks it for you. Or like when somebody just drops in, because they were *in the area*, and gets steaming hot Batata Wadas from the shop *at the corner*. It is bliss, I tell you, sheer bliss. :)
All the fat that I had lost during shifting from Germany to India is slowly creeping back again. And there is more on the way, I know. Because there are still many more goodies to be cooked and eaten yet. It's Diwali, after all. :) What Vee, the JFI host for this month, says here is true. I am indeed gonna have to "go to the darned gym and melt off all those calories put on in the name of Diwali".
If not anybody else, my mother will definitely agree. Because she saw me gobbling up those Shankarpali yesterday. Well, they are my favourite after all. I can eat them by the kilos. Literally. :) Then how could I resist them while they were fresh and still warm? And hey, I also *needed* them. As refreshments. I was doing the frying, you know. By the way, this is the first post on this blog with 'frying' involved. Does that mean, that my return to India make this blog a little less healthy then? We will see. :)
Recipe for Shankarpali
Makes about 1.5 kg (!) of these crispy little babies.
1 cup oil or Ghee (We used oil.)
1 cup milk
1 ¼ cup sugar (This amount of sugar makes moderately sweet Shankarpali. If you like your sweets to be really sweet, you could consider using more.)
a pinch of salt
approx. 5 cups all-purpose flour (Please refer to the instructions below.)
Oil or Ghee for deep-frying (We used oil, but I like the taste more when we use Ghee.)
1. Mix the first three ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat. Turn the heat off, as soon as the mixture comes to a boil.
2. Pour it into a wide, shallow dish. Once it is not too hot to touch, add the salt. Also, add the flour, a little at a time. Please do not add all the flour now. We are going to need only as much as the oil-sugar-milk mixture takes in.
3. Go on kneading and adding the flour till you have soft dough which is pliable and not sticky. Keep this dough aside, covered, for about half an hour. This also gives you the time to make the rest of the preparations. :)
4. Now assemble all the necessary tools. You will need a rolling pin, a rolling board, a knife or a wheel that looks like a pizza-cutter (see picture below), a skillet/Kadhai and a slotted spoon for frying, another wide & shallow dish to take out the fried Shankarpali onto. Please take out a couple of additional small plates, just in case.
5. Now pour some oil/Ghee into the skillet. The quantity will depend upon how big and deep your skillet is. Heat the oil.
6. Knead the dough lightly. Take a fistful of it and roll it into a round ball using your palms. Oil the rolling board lightly and roll this ball on it into a circle. Like in the following picture. Do not dust the rolling board (or stone as in our case) with flour like we do for Chapatis.
7. Cut this rolled out 'Chapati' into small squares or diamonds with a knife or a cutting wheel like in the next picture. The one we have used has a serrated edge. We call it 'Kaatani' in Marathi.
8. Deep-fry these pieces. Please make sure that the oil is not too hot. It should not smoke. That can result into Shankarpali fried dark brown on the outside and uncooked on the inside.
You could fry as many as you want at one point. It only depends (again) upon the size of the Kadhai. We used a smallish Kadhai, so we fried half of a batch every time (that's half of the pieces in the above picture).
9. Take them out of the oil and onto the shallow dish, when they look light brown. They will continue cooking a little even after they are taken out of the oil.
10. Make more Shankarpali as explained from Step 6 to Step 9 until the dough gets over.
Let the fried Shankarpali cool completely on a shallow dish. Then store them in a dry container with a tight lid.
Enjoy them with a cup of tea or with the rest of the Diwali goodies. Like so. :)