Ever since childhood, I have seen grandma celebrating various religious occasions with great devotion and love. Janmashtami (birthday of lord Krishna) being the one we all fondly waited for. This religious festival is celebrated all over India in the month of August/September and on the eighth day of the Hindu calendar. The birthday of the favorite lord Krishna is a very special occasion for Hindus, who consider him their savior, protector, philosopher, friend, lover and everything that counts.
Our family has been consistent in hosting various religious celebrations, including Janmashtami. My grandma used to wake up at dawn, give the idols of lord Krishna and Radha (his muse) a lavish milk and ghee bath, deck them with new clothes and ornaments and start the puja (religious rituals). The food offerings included hoards of fruits, home made sweets made for this occasion alone, bhog – a special rice and pulses mixed food, rice polao, luchis (puris), kheer (condensed milk with rice), 8 different types of fries made from 8 different vegetables, other special vegetables side dishes, sweet and sour chutnis/ pickles.
It was a family get together more than anything else for us. We, three sisters, used to hop around eating all the goodies and enjoying fun time with the family. My sister had a sweet tooth and she would attack the sweet dishes. I, on the other hand, was more into other dishes. Things have changed over the years. We have grown up, my sisters have relocated to different countries, and my grandma is no more with us. But, as they say, some things never change, I still live in the same old house with my parents, and we still have the more than a century old Krishna and Radha idols along with the legacy that my grandma has left behind. My mother today does everything that she has grown up seeing her mother do, and I on my part still enjoy the good food, fun and family time.
Coming to the special sweet dishes, malpua is prepared in variety of ways. Every household seems to have their own malpua recipe. My mother has hers and I have mine. I have streamlined on the ingredients and made the recipe much easier and faster to cater to my taste and time.
Malpua is an Indian delectable dessert much similar to sweet round pancake dipped in sugar syrup. It’s a gourmet’s delight. To prepare them you will need easily available kitchen ingredients. The ingredients will be available in almost every store round the corner.
Milk (8 cups)
Condensed milk (2 cups)
Water (2 cups)
Sugar (3 cups)
Fennel seeds (1 tablespoon)
Refined flour (3 cups)
Rose essence (1 teaspoon) - my addition
Clarified butter/ Ghee/ white oil (1 cups)
½ teaspoon of cardamom powder (optional)
Few strands of saffron strands (optional)
Silvered almonds and pistachios to garnish (optional)
Preparing the sugar syrup
Mix water with sugar and bring to boil till it attains single thread consistency. Add 1 tsp of rose essence and a few strand of saffron. Set aside to cool.
Preparing the batter for the malpua
Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling till it reduces to half quantity. Set aside and wait till it cools down.
Sieve the refined flour and add it slowly to the reduced milk. Keep stirring to avoid the lump formation. Stir well and stir continuously.
Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir to attain a smooth consistency of pancake.
Add fennel seeds and cardamom powder to the batter.
Heat the ghee (clarified butter) on thick bottomed frying pan and pour the smooth pouring batter in circular movements to form small pancakes. Wait till the sides turn golden brown. Turn over and wait for the side to cook till golden brown.
Remove from the oil and dip the malpua in the rose sugar syrup and let it absorb the syrup. Let it stay in the syrup till serving.
Remove the malpuas before serving and drain on a wire rack to drip the excess syrup. Dish them out delicately on a flat platter, garnish with silvered dry fruits.
With high calorie content, malpua is a guilt food. Nonetheless you can indulge in it since it’s prepared occasionally. Malpuas, however, are far too special to be confined only to special occasions. If you try this once, you would want to have it as dessert more often.