How to Make Shakarpara: An Indian Wedding and Festival Sweet
What Is Shakarpara?
Shakarpara is an Indian sweet that is commonly prepared for weddings and major festivals, such as Diwali and Holi. Crispy, coated with sugar, and perfectly delightful, these delicacies are usually cut into diamond or square shapes.
As part of a traditional Indian wedding, the bride's family and the groom's family exchange sweets. Shakarparas are prepared and packed in attractive, decorative boxes along with other sweets, including laddoos, khaja, boondis, mathri, etc. In addition to the exchange between the two families, the sweets are also distributed to all of the wedding guests. These shared treats are thought to represent blessings to the newly wedded couple.
Popular all over India, this sweet is known by different names depending on the state. Other names include shankarpali, khurma, and meethe shakarpara.
Shakarpara can be prepared well in advance of the special occasion. Properly stored, they will last a long time. Interestingly, spicy and sour versions of this snack also exist, in addition to the sweet version.
You are what you eat. So, eat more sweets.— Author Unknown
For the dough:
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- 1/2 cup water
For the syrup:
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups cooking oil, for deep frying
- Plenty of love, patience, and precision
- In a big bowl, add self-raising flour and 1/2 cup of cooking oil. Mix thoroughly so that the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Another way to check that the mixture is ready: When you press it into your hand, it should form into a cohesive lump.)
- Slowly add 1/2 cup water to the flour and oil mixture. Knead the resulting dough. When you press your finger into the dough, it should bounce back.
- Cover the kneaded dough with a muslin cloth and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Divide the kneaded dough into 4 portions. Roll it out onto a board until the thickness is less than half an inch.
- Cut the dough into diamond or square shapes.
- Meanwhile, place a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan over low to medium heat. Add 2 cups of oil. A few at a time, gently drop the shakarparas into the oil and deep-fry. Keep turning them so that all sides fry evenly.
- As each batch finishes cooking, transfer them to a bowl. Continue cooking until all of the dough has been deep-fried.
- Place a second heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Let the syrup come to the boil.
- After 5 to 10 minutes, the syrup should reach a three-string consistency. (You can check for proper consistency by dropping a little syrup in a small bowl of cold water. The sugar should crystallize at the bottom of the bowl.)
- When the syrup is ready, gently drop the shakarparas into the syrup in batches. Turn off the flame, and start turning the shakarparas to thoroughly coat.
- Keep turning the shakarparas until you see the sugar crystallize on the surface. Transfer them to a serving bowl and allow them to cool completely.
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- The dough should be firm—not too hard and not too soft. Cover it with a cloth and allow it to rest for at least 15-20 minutes before proceeding.
- Deep-frying should occur over low to medium heat; never high heat. This allows the shakarparas to cook all the way through to their centers.
- Making the sugar syrup requires a lot of precision. For best results, don't hurry the procedure, and make sure you've achieved a three-string consistency in order to properly coat the dough. Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time; practice makes perfect!
- Before storing these sweets in airtight containers, it is important to completely cool them (i.e., bring them down to room temperature).
I hope you will enjoy trying out this recipe. Since it is meant for festivals and weddings, forget about the calories and ENJOY!
Life is short. Eat your dessert first.— Author Unknown
Which is your favourite Indian festival or wedding sweet?
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© 2013 Chitrangada Sharan