Indian Mithai Sweets Series :
Nariyal Malpua / Coconut Malpua (Dry Version)
Malpuas are perhaps the most ancient sweet dish that has find its mention in our Vedic text. In its original version, malpuas were traditionally made with barley flour, which was later replaced with rice flour, fried in pure ghee and dipped in honey.
Malpua And Janmashtami – These crispy fried ghee laden pancakes dipped in sugar syrup has been considered a favourite of Shri Krishna too, become an integral part of illustrious chappan bhog that is usually offered to the lord on Nandotsav, in Odisha, Mathura and in other places where Krishnashtami is celebrated with much fervor and in grand ways. Hence no Holi or Janmashtami is considered incomplete without the delectable bhog of these deep fried pancakes called malpua.
With time malpua has absorbed the local flavors, lost some of its originality with time and has evolved and reborn as malpua as we know today, which is essentially served with rabdi, a sweet twist from Mathura that has forever changed the equation.. With the advent of refined flours, wheat flour and semolina, the rice flour slowly get replaced with these new age flour.
Bengali Malpua – In Bengal, both dry and syrupy version of malpuas are popular. But addition of fruit in the malpua batter, is something that is very unique to the eastern part of India. Though the version of malpuas changes as you cross the road , in short, every home has their traditional recipe to follow and folklore to entertain the next generation.
How We Prepare malpua- In my home, malpuas are made primarily on Krishnaashtami / Janmashtami and on Dolyatra / Holi and it is always the dry version, that becomes an essential part of Krishnashtami bhog. Depending upon the convenience sometimes ripe banana or juice of ripe ice apple (taal fruit in Bengali) is being added to the batter. While in my Mom’s maternal home, rice flour is still in use in the malpua batter, in my Mil’s home, wheat flour and semolina is preferred.
The look and feel, flavour and texture of these malpuas are way different than the one that is found all over India. These are essentially soft centered, but beautifully puffed up with no crisp edges. Bananas and ripe ice apple adds such a delectable flavour to the malpua.
These malpuas store very well and since sugar is added into the batter prior to frying, need to prepare separate sugar syrup is totally ruled out. These taste good on its own, eaten mostly as snacks and usually do not need rabdi to enhance the taste.
Coconut Malpuas – These coconut malpuas are little different from the traditional ones. Apart from banana and ripe ice apple, coconut, mawa , chhena or paneer and pineapple are also good choice to flavour the malpua differently. These coconut malpuas are thin crisp, soft centered and the flavour and taste matures a day later. So I always prepare them well in advance for festivals or for other occasions and serve the next day only with rabdi.
Dry Coconut Malpua Without Sugar Syrup
- 1 1/2 cup Maida (All purpose flour)
- 1 cup Milk (Full cream)
- 3/4 cup Grated Coconut (freshly grated only)
- 1/2 tsp Green Cardamom Powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp Fennel Seeds (roasted and crushed coarsely)
- 1/2 cup Sugar or more (up to 3/4 cup max)
- Salt , a small pinch
- Baking soda, a small pinch
- Ghee for frying
- 3 tbsp Oil
- Rabdi to serve
In a bowl add flour, sugar, salt, fennel seeds, cardamom powder and coconut. Mix it well with a spoon.
Now gradually add warm milk to it and make a smooth flowing batter. Consistency will neiher be thin nor thick. It should flow like thick cream.
Cover and let the batter to rest for 2 hours. Usually malpua is made with slightly fermented batter.
In a deep kadhai or frying pan, pour enough ghee and heat it. Add oil and heat it enough.
I usually do not deep fry the malpua. Only 1/2 inch oil/ghee depth is enough for frying the malpua.
Before frying the malpua, add pinch of soda to the malpua batter. Give it a nice stir.
Malpuas are usually fried in low medium hot oil/ ghee. So once the ghee is hot enough, lower the heat and start frying the malpua.
Before adding a ladle full of malpua batter into the hot ghee/ oil, just pour a big drop of batter into the oil.
If the batter does not hold its shape and get fragmented into multiple drops, then oil is either too hot or the batter is too runny.
If the batter is too runny, adjust it by adding flour to it, 1 tablespoon at at time and check it.
If the batter is too thick, it will get stick to the bottom of the pan, then add more milk and mix it well.
An ideal malpua batter will float on the surface of the oil / ghee.
Now after testing the batter, start frying the malpua one by one. By adding a ladle full of batter into the ghee. The batter will form a circular shape of its own.
Fry it on low medium heat. The edges will become crispy with a soft center. Keep stirring the hot oil over the malpua with a ladle, the side which is not covered in oil. This will ensure even cooking from all sides.
When one side is browned enough, flip it over and fry the other side.
Once done, drain it out on a plate. Following the same process, make all the malpuas this way.
The flavour will mature after 5-6 hour later. Malpuas always taste better the next day.
While serving, warm the malpua slightly (if kept in the fridge) and serve it with thick rabdi.
Traditionally malpua is made with fermented batter, but now a days, using a pinch of baking soda in the malpua batter makes our lives far more convenient.
And last, but not least malpuas taste best when fried in ghee only.