SANKAR PALA & NANKHATAI
Yes, its Diwali time for us Indians. In every household in India in whatever way and whichever form everyone will celebrate Diwali, whether it lighting lamps, doing Laxmi Pooja or kids bursting crackers. It’s so Indian to celebrate Diwali, irrespective of your faith, community, class. This year we are in Singapore, with its large Indian community it lacks the festive hustle and bustle. All around there are posters wishing Happy Diwali, announcing Diwali dinners and the Metro compartements are decked up with Indian motifs but the buzz and the beat, the colour and dance and FOOD (deep fried, sweet, savoury, spicy) its just not here. To put it kindly this is a polite, watered down version of the Diwali a Mumbai girl is used to.
A true blue Indian Diwali is an assault on your senses. The noise and colour and crowds and the food is enough to drive you into a tizzy and go meditate in the Himalayas after the festivities are done. The crackers are burst a million a minute, its one continuous “rat-a-tak-tak”. If migraine is not your thing then care for some asthma please? The streets are jammed with people in all their jhatak (shiny, gaudy) finery, the loudspeekers are belting out Bollywood music and the food is the focal point. The fantastic array of sweets and savouries, makes the noise and crowds and the sudden surge in air pollution bearable. Visiting friends to wish them has a special attraction. Even Mr. Junior the sullen teenager who is reluctant to accompany us on meet and greet sessions is quite excited and doesn’t pout or show attitude. From chaklis to chivda, gulab jamuns to gathiya, from mithai to mawa barfis, it a feast fit for a king.
I can guardedly say that though I don’t miss the crackers and noise and air pollution, I did miss out on dressing up in my sari and jewellery and making the gourmet tour around the city. Yes, away from home Diwali is Rookha-Sookha (Sad and Dry). If not the buzz, I decided to re-create the food that would certainly brighten our Diwali.
Sankar pala and Nan Khatai are two popular diwali farsans (snacks).
Sankar pala is a crispy fried cookie which is sweet and mildly savoury and an excellent accompaniment to your cuppa. Nan Khatai is an Indian cousin of Shortbread biscuits but laden with ghee and cardamom. I topped it with nuts to add to the richness. Both are easy to prep and have very similar ingredients but the final product is chips and cookies (makes sense??)
So dear ones, my readers and visitors, thanks for stopping by and reading my crazed essays and showing your “Likes”…Happy Diwali! Go on make these rich, ghee laden, sugar filled sweets and enjoy the festivities…….if you can’t then what’s the point of those salads.
RECIPE (from vegrecipesofindia.com )
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Semolina/ Rava
½ cup castor sugar
3 tablespoons ghee (melted)
Pinch of salt
½ to ¾ cup warm milk
Sunflower or any odourless Oil for deep frying
- In a bowl or thali sieve the semolina, flour and salt. Add in the sugar and mix well using your fingers.
- Pour in the ghee and rub it into the flour.
- Add the milk a little at a time, bringing the dough together with your hands. Keep adding the milk till you get a firm but pliable dough. You may not need to use all the milk.
- Divide the dough into large tennis sized balls and roll it out to 1/8th inch thickness. Cut the rough edges using a knife or pizza cutter. Cut into diamond shapes. Reusing the scraps roll out more dough.
- Heat oil in a deep vessel. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Fry the cookies until golden brown, turning and flipping often. Drain on kitchen paper and store in an air tight container.