Editor’s Note: Sweet and Crispy Parsi Puri stays for a long time like a month. It is fondly called Tal Papra. Made from sesame seeds (Tal), cardamom and nutmeg powder, and caraway seeds.
As I get ready for a very important prayer day tomorrow, here’s an old recipe not very commonly made today.. Tal na papra… A sweet puri infused with sesame seeds, cardamom and nutmeg powder, and caraway seeds.
Equal proportions of plain and whole wheat flour are mixed with powdered sugar, a generous quantity of sesame seeds and the fragrant powders, ghee, a little water and mixed into a hard dough and rested. The dough is then rolled out into very very thin puris…almost tissue like.
The unique feature of these puris is that they are dry roasted on the griddle first and then fried in boiling oil… And it has to be done simultaneously and fast… Or you have burnt stuff… Hence the stove setup and the need to have quick hands…
My granny Dinamai used to make hundreds of these papra and store them in large aluminum boxes as we went to the village during vacations. I used to devour unimaginable quantities without any thought to the effort that goes into making them.
Today as I made them for the first time, I remembered Dinamai and sent up a small prayer in her memory, and apologized for the trouble I must have caused her. The papra I made were nowhere compared to what she used to make, but brought back memories of childhood and good times…
For me, women like Dinamai were the ultimate role models. They labored, under the most harsh conditions, without a murmur of protest, and gave all they had for the benefit of their spouse, children and family. For me, Dinamai was more emancipated and a greater symbol of feminity than those shrill voices we hear today, or the so called ‘hot chicks’ who can’t hold a ladle in their hands and consider cooking beneath their dignity or who need 10 hours of sleep and then some more…
Behdin Dinamai Behdin Nariman, may your Ruvan progress ahead! @ Udvada
Recipe of Tal Papri puri
1 cup plain maida flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sesame seeds (Til)
1 tsp cardamon or nutmeg
1/4 cup ghee
Water enough for mixing the dough
Oil for deep frying
All the above except the oil for frying is mixed into a hard dough and rested. The dough is then rolled out into very very thin puris, almost tissue like. (See photos). Fry in hot oil till crisp, drain and cool.
Rita Jamshed Kapadia
Cookbooks are available on Amazon. Rita has published the MEGA "Manna of the 21st Century Parsi Cuisine cookbook" and several other mini cookbooks.