Yesterday, on dhanteras (the thirteenth day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin), I gathered up some enthusiasm to get the Divali cooking underway. There was no way I could have shopped for gold – the prices are at a record high and the market at a record low. Making Divali treats seemed to be just the thing to get the festivities off to a happy start. The easiest munchies to make are shankarpare and namak pare, one sweet, the other salty.
This time around, I used a 2:1 ratio of atta (whole wheat flour) to maida (refined flour) for shankarpare. They were much the better for taste. I also used Shipa’s trick of adding a little ghee to the oil while frying instead of using ghee as the frying medium – stretches expensive ghee further, and keeps the cholesterol count down as well. Sweet things do need a whiff of ghee.
Namak pare were a success. This year I did not waste my effort and time on experimenting with baking them… Everything in moderation. This recipe makes enough to tide a family over the festive days of Divali. You could always make more and share with friends!
2C all purpose flour
1C atta (whole wheat flour)
6 T oil
1 t salt (or to taste)
1 t red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) – optional
1 t ajwain (bishop’s weed) seeds
water to knead
oil for frying
Using just enough water mix all ingredients into a medium stiff dough that is pliable. I put my food processor to use this time. Let the dough rest for an hour (you may leave it longer – I prepped aroung 11 in the morning and got around to frying them only after lunch).
Heat oil in a karahi. Divide the dough into 5-6 portions and roll each out to 1/8th inch thickness (about 2-3mm). Using a sharp knife score through into 1/5th inch (5mm) wide strips – the pizza cutter didn’t work for me and gave uncontrolled diverging lines. Score further across to divide the strips into 2 inch lengths. Drop the strips into the hot oil and fry over a medium heat, stirring every now and then. To drop the strips into oil I hold my chakla (rolling board) upright over the karahi. Starting at the lower most row, I use the tip of the knife to lift the strips along their upper ends. They roll down into the hot oil. Holding the board close to the oil creates little splashing.
Remove the fried strips with a slotted spoon when golden – they will darken a shade as they sit continuing to cook as they cool. Store in an airtight tin after they have cooled completely.
HAPPY DEEPAVALI, everyone!