Divali Treats I: Shankarpara and Paparia


Tonight is Dhanteras, and Divali is officially on! We have our Divali lights out and the first candle has been lit. This is all the Maharashtrian side of me. I guess I can lay claim to it after sharing with TH of 17 years. I cannot believe it myself. Not the sharing for 17 years, but that if we have shared for so long does it mean we are as old as it must mean. šŸ™‚

Our Divalis are completely Maharashtrian. Kashmiri Pandits, unique for Hindus I would think, don’t have a Divali tradition and never celebrated it until their recent expulsion from the homeland. But, let’s talk of pleasant things…

Sharing in the family tradition for me means doing it the way my MIL did, as much as I can. Since she hasn’t been gone all that long, every thing has been reminding us of her this week. First, we did the Satyanarayan pooja this week (nothing to do with Divali). And thought of her as we did the elaborate preparations for it.


It is now just two days to Divali and all that I had prepared were the shankarparey. I had watched my MIL make them a couple of times but never with the intention of remembering…and so, with a little bit of trial and error (very little of this), I made reasonable, very edible, shankarparey early this week.

There’s a few things I have always made even when my MIL was away visiting the BIL in the US. If you are a Maharashtrian then it’s not Divali till there is chakli. So, I always make that. Even if it means soaking rice and a bunch of lentils, letting them dry for a bit, slow roasting each ingredient separately, begging the local flour mill owner to ‘please grind it for me’, then preparing the dough, pressing it out of the chakli-press, frying it carefully on medium heat till beautifully crispy-brown. Every family’s recipe varies just a little to make our’s the best kind we have ever had!! And, of all the Divali treats, it’s my son’s favourite.

When I was away in the US I was very lucky to find packaged chaklis at an Indian store on the outskirts of Denver which tasted exactly like my MIL’s! I would bite into one, savouring every bit, and think of home.

I also manage to make sev, and on the Laxmi pujan day, the karanji, a sweet similar to the North Indian gunjiya, but made with fresh grated coconut instead of dessicated copra.

But all these still remain to be made this time, between tomorrow and tomorrow.

Today, I made paparia, another family tradition. I didn’t want another trial on my hands and called TH’s aunt in Poona. The paparia turned out as good as my MIL’s! But of course, I was using the family recipe.


1 C milk (min. 3% milk-fat)
1 C sugar
1/2 C ghee (or unsalted melted butter)
3-4 C flour (sift together 2 C each of maida/all purpose flour and atta /whole wheat flour)
1/2 t freshly ground cardamom seeds
ghee for frying


Heat together the sugar, milk, and ghee till the sugar dissolves. Add the cardamom powder. Incorporate as much of the flour mix as needed to make a medium stiff dough. Knead for 5 minutes and let rest for 15-20 min. Pinch of dough balls and roll to 2-3 mm thickness. Cut into small diamond shapes using a pastry cutter. Fry in ghee on medium heat till brown and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container.

I tried to bake a small batch of the same dough. It tasted okay but the colour was very light. You will need to flip the shankarparey mid-way betweeen the cooking process. I baked for about 15 min. The next time around for baking I would increase the amount of ghee (double it to 1C) and that should help with the colour and make the texture less dry as well.

2 C besan (chickpea flour)
1 C maida/all purpose flour
1 t kalonji (nigella seeds)
1 t turmeric
2 t red chilli/cayenne pepper powder
salt (about 1 1/2 t)
1/2 C hot oil + oil for frying

Sift the besan and maida. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, salt and kalonji. Pour the 1/2 cup of really hot oil. Knead to a medium soft dough using water. Let the dough rest for 10 min. Roll the dough and cut with a knife into small pieces and roll into small flat balls (makes 45 balls). Roll very thin dusting with maida as needed. Spread on paper and roll out the entire batch. The rolling is easier if use use the small ridged rolling pins popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat for making papads.

Heat oil in a karahi and start frying, starting with the paparias that have been drying out the longest. Flip a couple of times while frying and use tongs to drip and remove from oil when they turn pink. The paparias will cook a little as they cool. Store in air tight containers.

Paparias are great munchies on the go, with tea or coffee, as party finger food (just make them smaller and serve with or without dips), and even with dinner. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

This is for JFI, started by Indira of Mahanandi, and the Special Edition: Diwali Treats, being hosted by Vee of Past Present and Me.

And this is also going to VKN’s VCC Q3 Festival Foods at My Dhaba.

Tags: Diwali, shankarpare, paparia, Diwali Treats, chivda, VCC Q3

19 thoughts on “Divali Treats I: Shankarpara and Paparia

  1. I realized late last week that Diwali was this week! And now it’s Dhanatroyadashi already. Huge sigh! I was planning to make my own ceramic diyas but that’s out of question now. I must remember to keep my Kalnirnay in a place where I can see it everyday!

    I’ll probably attempt to make some faraal tomorrow. And in our home it used to be the 3 ch’s: chakli, chivda and chavde. And my Mom’s chivda had deep fried pohe but the way she did it, it wasn’t oily like the its packaged relative. She was famous for it but no-one in the family remembers the proportions. I got a vague list of ingredients from my sister – so maybe I’ll try that for nostalgia’s sake.

    For today, every single light in the home will be turned on. And a candle placed on the doorstep.

    Today is the day to buy gold. My pot of gold just came home so I am off to celebrate with her!

    Hi Manisha! You lucky girl with your pot of gold!!

    Yes, I have made chivda as well. My MIL used to be inthe kitchen a week before Diwali, churning out two treats a day, in large quantities (we used to store them in those large tins!). Go by instinct with your chivda. If you have watched your mother make it many times, you’ll be fine. You can perfect it over time. Mine has roasted pohe, and murmurey (rice crispies). Fried stuff: loads of peanuts, home-style potato chips (fried and crushed), chana dal (soaked for an hour, drained), and coconut slivers. And finally in the tadka: mustard seeds, coriander seeds, heeng, curry leaves, green chillies, sesame seeds, turmeric, and red chilli powder. Then everything mixed together with salt and fine sugar and a couple of handfuls of raisins.

    Very Maharashtrian, don’t you think?

    And, do make the paparia. It’s easy and quick. For the quantity mentioned, it took me an hour and half (not incuding resting time).

  2. Anita, thank you so much for that! I’ve been mulling over it all day and was ready to make a list of ingredients, when I saw that Shilpa of Aayi’s Recipes has posted the closest I might possibly come to the chivda my mother made!

    It’s almost 12 years since she passed away and a few more since I watched her make the chivda. I have memories of her frying the pohe and then tossing them in the container so that they mix well with the phodni. I remember stealing from that container as she made it – which always upset her because it ‘diluted’ her phodni but it thrilled me cos it was so tikhat and salty!

    Your chivda is the ‘kaccha’ chivda which we simply love! My sister’s MIL, who is Gujarati, adds a dash of citric acid crystals for a slight tang. I was picking my sister’s brains earlier this evening for proportions – I am pretty sure she sent them to me once before but she insists that she does it all by andaaz. Damn these women! Don’t they know that we need a list of measured ingredients with a proper method?!

    I think I will start making my faraal with the paparia. I am quite sure they will be a hit. Will let you know how it turns out!

    Happy Diwali!

    You’re all set then!Ā  Happy Diwali.

  3. thanks for the comment on my little place in the sun..wow…that sure sounds like loads of cooking over divali..makes me miss home! I wont even have time to do all this even though it is the weekend!

    and ofcourse alice isnt a children’s book. You should read the annonated alice (by someone whose name I have lost ) it truly puts it into perspective of its time


    Hi Disha.Ā  So that’s your name!Ā  And yes, I’ve read the annotated Alice, not cover to cover though.Ā  I would like to own it (if I find it).Ā  On my Christmas list it has been for years now!Ā 

  4. I made Paparia this evening, tastes great. But I was not able to rolls as thin as u’ve made, I dint have the ridged rolling pins šŸ˜¦
    Thank you for the recipe !

    Happy Diwali to you and your family !

  5. Anita, I made paparia and they are simply delicious. I made a couple of mistakes along the way – didn’t roll out the entire batch at one shot and didn’t fry them till they were pink in color – but they still taste great! Take a peek whenever you get a chance.

    Thanks again for a wonderful recipe! It’s a keeper!

  6. Hi Anita,
    It is GREAT going through your blog. This year for Diwali I made Kaku’s recipe of Coconut barfi instead of the usual besan ladoos. It turned out to be heavenly delicious!!! We have all been enjoying it tremendously. We wish you all A Very Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year with good health and happiness.

    Hi Anjali. Good to see you stop by. And a very Happy Diwali to all of you too.
    You can see I am obviously having a great time myself!

  7. I just had to try the paparia and of course it snow balled for me as my son thought I was making poories and so I had to make other stuff as it was Diwali.

    I felt it was some work but maybe I too need the rolling pin with ridges. The edges were not as good as yours but then I don’t think I had really hot oil, it may just have been hot. Do you know what role the ‘hot oil’ plays in the dough process.

  8. Hi Anita:

    These recipes sounds great. I will give them a try. My mom used to make these. And they always was so delicious. Thanks

  9. Anita, I made the paparias this weekend. That dough is a magic and I could roll them paper thin which was a real delight. The fried ones were pink pretty and I dipped them into several things for a taste testing. The best I could remember is with amma’s coconut tamarind chutney. The second is with thick curds. Thanks a ton fo the wonderful recipe! Will blog about it soon.

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