Thursday, 24 May 2012


I once had a buddy from temperate climes who frequently expressed appreciation of things by saying they put him in the mood for sex.This was all right while he spoke of music and rich, creamy desserts and, at some length, of beautiful women, but I had to put my foot down when, on a January evening, he said summer put him in the mood for sex. Summer. I ask you. Sweltering, sticky heat, unavoidable body odour, blistering sunshine, asphyxiating humidity... all that, and the old rock and roll? I'm living the tropical summer right now, and I don't think so.

Anyway. This little taste of my... eccentric social life has no bearing on the dish we're about to make, except that it too, apparently, sent the red alert to his man's libido. Unlike most of his favourite desserts, however, the malpoa is neither rich nor creamy. But then, few Bengali desserts are. This is a very, very simple dish, and the only bit about it that might conceivably be labelled difficult is the frying, and that's difficult to accomplish because it is tedious, not because it is in any way complex. Just give yourself some practice, and you will be fine.

Well then, let us jump in.

This is two fistfuls of sooji/shuji/semolina, soaked in half an inch of water at room temp.

After the semolina soaks up most of the water (say, in ten minutes), add two level tablespoons of flour.

This is kNacha mouri -- raw saunf/fennel seeds. Crush them lightly with a pestle, along with the seeds of two large cardamoms.

Add the crushed mouri and cardamom to the bowl, pour a tablespoon and a half of milk, and beat the batter together till smooth.

Heat oil till bubbly, then turn the flame down. Drop a teaspoonful of the batter, and watch it sputter and rise.

Make a whole batch of these malpoas.

Now, in the greasy wok, heat four tablespoons of sugar over a low flame till they just begin to caramelise. You will need to stir this constantly so that the bottom doesn't char.

There! All nicely and lightly caramelised. Now add four cups of water, scrape the bottom of the wok, and let the sugar and water come to a mild boil, reduce, and thicken into caramel-flavoured sugar syrup. This is your rosh.

When it does, drop in the malpoas. Let them soak up as much of the syrup as they can, and then, if you like your malpoas floating in some rosh, pour them into an earthenware bowl right away. If, however, if you like your malpoas sticky with deliciously caramelised, thick, drying syrup wrapped around it like a blanket in winter, let them simmer together till the rosh is almost all gone.

THEN pour them into an earthernware bowl, and serve :-)

For all of you with a sweet tooth but severe restrictions on desserts -- victims of cruel fate like me, in other words -- this is the perfect, perfect dessert. There's a little flour, and some sugar, but that's pretty much all there is. And it is absolutely delicious! Don't let this dish pass you by -- it'll be the best twenty minutes you've spent in a kitchen!


Sachinky said...

At my house, the malpoas that my grandma, my mom (and even the maids make) are flat shaped, almost pancake-like. I've never seen malpoas like this - how funny.

Rimi said...

It's the same at mine. Which is why I like making them like little boras. I'm such a rebel, you know? ;-)

Dea-chan said...

I think they sell something like that in Indian restaurants here called "gulab jamun". Is this the same thing? Or am I just being a racist ass comparing apples and oranges because they come from the same subcontinent? :-P

Rimi said...

Dude, you're not being even remotely racist. Wtf. Gulab jamun is very different, but they do look similar to the picture I've taken, I must admit. Try this before you try your hand at gulab jamun, though. This is lighter and nicer :-)