Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Malpua – Foodie Memories and Recipe

A Foodie Blog for the Sweet Tooth 

There is no greater love than the love of Eating 

(The second-greatest love is the love of Cooking) 

MALPUA 
“Delectable” Foodie Treat
By 
VIKRAM KARVE 

One evening 
– more than 10 years ago  in the year 2006 to be precise – while on my evening walk in Aundh Pune  it suddenly started raining  so I ducked into a building – where I discovered a sweet shop.

The voracious appetite created by the brisk walk 
– and the tempting array of sweets and savouries on display made my mouth water and created an appetite in me – and I was wondering what to eat  when suddenly I discovered one of my favourite sweets  “Malpua” – displayed on the Menu Chart hung on the wall.

This was indeed a pleasant surprise 
 since I never imagined I would get Malpua in Pune.

And this pleasant surprise evoked nostalgic mouth-watering memories of the delicious Malpua-Kheer we savoured and devoured with gusto as a nourishing wholesome breakfast after bouts of heavy exercise on cold winter Sunday mornings long back in Varanasi (Benares).

We were young hungry youngsters – and those were indeed the good old gastronomic days of high calorie energizing winter breakfasts like Malpua-Kheer or piping hot Jalebi with Doodh (Milk) or Lavang Lata with freshly boiled thick creamy Doodh [Milk] dipped and eaten the same way as one eats khari biscuits with Irani Chai.
   
Reminded of my Malpua-Kheer days – I asked for Malpua and Kheer.

But  surprisingly  there was no Kheer. 

So – I ordered a plate of Malpua and eagerly put a piece of the rich brown syrupy Malpua in my mouth.

It was terrible – the Malpua tasted like boiled rubber drenched in sugar syrup

The Malpua did not melt in the mouth  or dissolve gracefully on the palate  but disintegrated into brittle fragments and left a stodgy aftertaste.
   
The soft fluffy succulent lusciousness  the sweet-sour tang of banana and curd fermentation  the spicy fragrance of cardamom (elaichi)  and most important – the distinctive taste and classic flavour of saunf (badishep) – which are the hallmarks of authentic Malpua – all these attributes were conspicuous by their absence.
   
I was so disappointed – that I called the “Maharaj” – and I asked him how he had managed to so terribly bungle and botch this exquisite delicacy  and churn out this inexcusably appalling stuff  masquerading as Malpua.

“Simple...” he said, “Boil enough Milk till it becomes Rabdi 
 mix in Maida and make a smooth batter  fry the pancakes in pure Ghee  and soak in sugar syrup....”
   
“Just Milk and Maida...? That’s not how you make Malpua...” I told him, “What about the Banana, Saunf, Cardamom, Spices, Coconut, Dry Fruit, Curds…?”
   
“This is the Rajasthani Style Malpua...” he said sheepishly and disappeared.
   
There are many versions of Malpua all over India – I have tasted the Rajasthani, Bengali, Karnataka, Maharashtrian, Gujarati, MP and UP versions.

Then there are improvisations like potato malpua, pineapple malpua, orange malpua etc...

There is also the inimitable, slurpy rich heavy duty invigorating and energizing hearty Malpua 
– braced and fortified with eggs  prepared in the evenings and nights during the holy month of Ramzan by Suleman Mithaiwala at Mohammed Ali Road near Minara Masjid in Mumbai. This rich and heavy Malpua is a meal in itself  but if you want you really want to do justice it is better to start off with Kababs, relish the Malpua, and top up with cool sweet soothing Phirnee.
   
Tell me  in which genre of cuisine should Malpua be classified...?

Let me tell you – genuine Malpua is Bihari Cuisine.

That’s right 
 no doubt about it  Malpua is a speciality of Bihar – like Khaja  and – the best authentic Malpua is made Bihari Style.

And  this is how a Bihari friend of mine  an expert cook –  taught me to make Malpua  long back.

MALPUA - The Recipe 

BATTER   
Make a smooth batter with Maida – add a pinch of soda and salt – blend in fresh banana pulp – pour in some fresh creamy milk  add cardamom [choti elaichi] pods and cardamom powder – put in a small pinch of nutmeg powder – add freshly grated coconut – put in some powdered and whole saunf – then blend in beaten curds – and finally – if required – add some water to get the right pouring consistency.

Beat the batter well with your hands  till the batter becomes light and fluffy. 

Cover the batter and leave aside for at least one hour or more for a bit of fermentation. 

PREPARING SUGAR SYRUP
   
Add one cup sugar to one cup water  boil – and prepare 1:1 sugar syrup – seasoned with cardamom and cloves 

(1:1 sugar syrup means one-strand syrup – when you dip your fingers and pull apart – just one strand should form)

Sprinkle a little rosewater, saffron or essence – if you want. 

Keep the sugar syrup hot  at least warm  to facilitate easy ingress into the Malpua pancake  and to keep it soft and succulent. 

MAKING MALPUA PANCAKE
   
Now take the fermented batter and mix and whip well with your hands  adding water if required  to get a smooth batter of pouring consistency. 

Heat pure ghee in a deep frying pan (It is best to use pure ghee instead of oil).

Pour in a little bit of the batter into the hot ghee carefully  and deep-fry the pua (pancake) in pure ghee till nice and brown  soft and cooked – not too crisp
 
When ready – take out the fried pua  drain excess ghee  and dip the pua  in the hot sugar syrup completely for a minute  to enable just enough permeation  but to obviate over-sogginess. 
 
With the sugar syrup absorbed  the PUA has now become MALPUA – and – the Malpua is ready to be eaten with deliciously sweet lip smacking Kheer. 
 
Now don’t tell me you don’t know how to make delicious Kheer

Well  – I prefer delicious Rice Kheer  but if you want  you can try it out with vermicelli (seviyan) kheer – as long as you don't make it too thick.
   
Malpua must be eaten with Kheer.
 
Malpua and Kheer is not a dessert, a pudding, or a snack  but a complete nourishing breakfast in its entirety  in fact  it can even substitute a full meal. 

The luscious wholesome combination is heavenly – and you will be overwhelmed with a wonderful feeling of blissful satiation.

Dear Reader and Fellow Foodie: 

Please tell us about your favourite Malpua – where you ate it – and if you happen to live in Pune – do let us know where we can relish authentic Malpua in Pune. 

Happy Eating...!!! 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
1. This is an improvised recipe  so try it at your own risk.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 
This article written by me Vikram Karve more than 10 years ago in the year 2006. The article is included in my book APPETITE FOR A STROLL (2008) and was posted online by me a number of times in my blogs at urls: https://vwkarve.wordpress.com/2007/06/15/malpua-and-kheer/ and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/03/malpua.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/09/eating-out-in-pune-for-sweet-tooth.html etc
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