1. Pantua- the bengali version of gulab jamun
I vividly remember pujo holidays spent in small town Sambalpur in Orissa as a kid which happens to be my maternal home. As part of tradition, friends, neighbours and relatives thronged my mama
(maternal home) to convey Bijoya greetings to my dadu (grand father) and other family members. This one is borrowed from by boro mami (aunty) who is veteran cook. But desserts are her forte. All through the puja mayhem she relentlessly made assorted sweets and other snacks to be served to a never ending stream of guests. One such super hit dish was pantua. Reminiscing about those happy days when I and my cousins would steal pantuas from mami’s kitchen, I called up my aunt and asked for the recipe. She was way too happy to share. This one is to boromami. bari
As a warning it is good to know that the entire process of pantua making and cleaning up the kitchen takes at least 1 hr to 1 hr 15 mins. So it is important to be patient at every stage of making pantua.
½ Kg Milk
Juice of 1 lemon
Refined Flour (maida)
5 table spoon clarified butter
½ litre sun flower oil
21/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
¼ cup milk
½ table spoon sodium bicarbonate
Boil milk. As the milk starts to boil put in the lemon juice. The milk will curdle. Keep stirring the milk and let it curdle completely. Strain through a muslin cloth or a strainer. Do not make the cottage cheese (paneer) formed too dry. Now put the cottage cheese in a cup and make approximate eye estimation. Take the cheese out and measure approximately equal quantity of milk powder. Next measure equal quantity of refined flour. Keep the cottage cheese, flour and milk powder in separate bowls. To the refined flour add the sodium bicarbonate and mix properly with a fork. Now knead the cheese till it is soft. Next heat clarified butter and add to the flour and mix properly with hand. Take all three ingredients and knead. Add milk and knead again till you get the final dough which can be easily shaped like a ball. Make equal size small round balls. You can make around 25 small balls. Remember pantuas bloat up when put into sugar syrup and hence you should not make the balls too big.
You need to use two gas burners together. On the left burner boil water in a deep wok with a wide mouth and add the sugar. Let it boil at low flame till a uniform sugar syrup forms and starts bubbling. Alongside on the right burner heat oil in a deep wok or karai till it just starts to smoke. Lower flame and let in a few balls that you made earlier. Make sure not to over crowd. Keep rolling the oil in the karai so that the balls are evenly fried. Make them golden brown. Take them out and put them immediately into to sugar syrup. You will see that the balls sink down. Batch wise put in all the balls. Boil for 5 more minutes and let it cool. Do not cover with a lid till cold. In an hours time you will see the balls are all bloated with the sugar syrup inside and your pantuas are ready.