Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Malpoas and Happy Holi

Festivals invokes nostalgia and memories. Holi/Doul Poornima was much awaited in our home. While growing up, I liked the dry colors or ‘Phag’ in Hindi, as Holi falls under Phagun month according to Hindu calendar. I was never a fan of wet Holi and in secondary school, I almost stopped playing with colours. Don’t take me wrong, I like colors, in fact I adore colors, but when it comes to playing with wet colors, I shy away. Anyways, I always liked Phag and those varied colors of phag sold in small packets- red, yellow, green and orange. When splashed in to the air, smell of Phag intoxicated many minds and souls. Those days phag used to have a sweet aroma, or may be my olfactory nerves were much active then. I could smell that beautiful aroma of Phag.One whiff and the entire mind used to get intoxicated with joy and happiness that surrounded those celebrations on every Holi Mornings.
As the day progressed, I would peek inside kitchen to see what is being cooked there. My mother used to make Gujia, namkeen, Dahi vada etc. on every Holi. Sometimes, I would see her make these ‘Bhaja Malpoas’ as well. I also recalled, once we went to meet up our school teacher in the evening. I was in junior school at that time. I would call her madam A, as she reminds me of a famous Hindi poetess. Both share same name. Madam A, was earnestly making fresh batches of ‘bhaja malpoas’ for her school kids and was serving them warm as well. Those days teacher-student relationships were very cordial and they were almost like our guardians. The joy and satisfaction on my mother’s face and my teacher Madam A’s face is incomparable. These ladies have different aura about themselves.

I have tried to re-create those same ‘bhaja malpoas’ in my kitchen as well. I don’t know if this is something to preserve traditions, or remembering and acknowledging my mother’s and Madam A’s contributions in shaping my future and developing memories, but I like to make them once in a while during festivals.
These Bhaja Malpoas makes me feel the comfort of that bygone era. Festivals indeed invokes feelings and nostalgia. Before I jump to recipe, Wishing everyone a very Happy Holi, Doul Poornima.
This is how I made Bhaja Malpoas.

Bhaja Malpoa/ Mini fried pancake
Recipe requirements
  • 1 cup of self-rising flour/Maida
  • 1 cup of roasted semolina/Sooji
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3-4 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 cup of milk or as required to make the batter
  • 2 cups of cooking oil
  •  2-3 saffron strands (optional)

  • In a big mixing bowl, mix in semolina and self-rising flour. The proportions, I generally take equal in quantity.1:1 for semolina and self-rising flour. If you don’t get self-rising flour, use plain flour but add in about a tsp of baking powder.
  • In a mortal and pestle, coarsely crush fennel seeds.
  • Now add in fennel seeds and sugar to the above. Add whole milk slowly and mixing through, make sure there are no lumps.Add saffron strands if you wish to add.
  •  Make a smooth batter not too thick and not too thin, just like a pancake batter, easy to drop in consistency.
  • Now in a deep bottomed pan, add in cooking oil. Let it heat up.
  • Take about a heaped table spoon of the batter and slowly drop into the hot cooking oil. Let it deep fry for a while. Take them out and drain over kitchen towel.
  • This much of the batter made approx. 20-22 medium size malpoas.
  • Unlike other malpoa which is khoya based and dipped in sugar syrup, these 'Bhaja Malpoas' are very crunchy when relished warm and hot.
  • Store in air tight container stays fresh for 3-4 days.

Happy Cooking Friends and Wishing Everyone - Happy Holi !!