It’s that time of the year again. Homes are lit with candles, earthen lamps and fairy lights; cobwebs are cleaned and fans are dusted; new clothes are unpacked; sweet and savoury dishes are prepared; the stage is set for unarguably THE biggest festival in India – Deepavali / Diwali.
A family favourite when it comes to Diwali sweets is the shakkar para (which literally translates to sugar pastry). They are sweet, crunchy, crispy – sweetness can be either added to the dough itself or added by sugar coating the para once fried. The usual shape for shakkar para are diamonds which are just perfect for a celebration! Since its Diwali, I made these with all purpose flour and fried them in ghee. For healthier versions, you can fry them in oil and use whole wheat flour. You can also use jaggery for making gur paras.
For para –
All Purpose Flour (Maida) – 250 grams (2 cups)
Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 tbsp
Water for kneading
Ghee – for deep frying
Sugar Syrup –
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1/2 cup
1. In a bowl, add the flour and ghee and mix.
2. Add enough water to make a dough – little stiffer than a regular chapati dough.
3. Keep aside covered for 30 minutes.
4. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Take each one and roll into a circle on a flat surface with rolling pin to about 1/2″ thickness.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut diamond shapes by slicing vertically and then at an angle.
6. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom kadhai/wok. Fry the para on medium heat till light brown on both sides.
7. Remove the para and put on kitchen paper towels. Let them cool a little.
8. Prepare the sugar syrup – add sugar and water into a saucepan. Put on low-medium heat and stir till sugar is dissolved. Boil the syrup on low heat till you get 3-thread consistency (when the syrup is pressed between thumb and forefinger and separated, you’ll see 2-3 threads. Make sure the syrup is warm and not hot just out of the pan or else you’ll burn your fingers!)
9. As soon the right consistency is reached, switch off and quickly add the para into the sugar syrup and quickly toss them till all are coated. Transfer to a large plate and let them cool. The sugar will crystallise as it cools.
10. Store them in an airtight container. These stay good for a few weeks.