Although I make Malpuas throughout the year, these spongy and light, crispy pancake-like Malpuas are made especially in the winter months. In the North of India, they are often served as breakfast!  Just visualise the winter mist, weak early morning sun filtering through, people wrapped in shawls, huddling near the warmth of the coal-fired stoves of street side eateries. The Halwaiya ( men who cook sweets) are frying, and steeping Malpuas in large flat pans and serving it piping hot to the customers! When I wake up to misty mornings here I find myself craving for those cozy moments. Of course, the street-side eateries do not add saffron to the Malpuas as we do at home. These delectable mini pancakes are spongy on the inside with a crisp golden crust and a distinct mouth-feel. There are two ways of serving it- drenched with the sweet-sour saffron syrup, or eaten hot, dipped in warm saffron- laced sweet, condensed milk called Rabri.  I give you both versions here, like me, you might go for both at the same time!

Makes 12 Malpua / 10 cm Ø / 1 tsp=5ml /1 tbsp=15ml/ 1 cup=225ml

Ingredients

The batter for Malpua:
1 cup flour
2 tbsp each: fine semolina, sour yoghurt (or Skyr yoghurt), condensed milk
Generous pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground to a coarse powder
6 green cardamom, peeled and seeds ground to powder
¼ tsp soda bicarbonate
½ cup water +_ at room temperature
Ghee or oil for shallow frying (neutral oil)
Option 1 :For syrup
1 ½ cup sugar
¾ cup water
Juice of a lemon
A generous pinch of saffron- crumbled & soaked in 1 tbsp hot water
Option 2: Rabri
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup hot milk
A generous pinch of saffron- crumbled & soaked in 1 tbsp hot milk
⅛ tsp grated nutmeg
Mix all together with a whisk- warm it up on low heat, just before serving.
Although I make Malpuas throughout the year, these spongy and light, crispy pancake-like Malpuas are made especially in the winter months. In the North of India, they are often served as breakfast!  Just visualise the winter mist, weak early morning sun filtering through, people wrapped in shawls, huddling near the warmth of the coal-fired stoves...

Instructions

1.Except for the ghee, mix all ingredients for the batter, with a whisk to a smooth pancake batter consistency.
2.Adjust water accordingly. Make sure there are no lumps, cover, and allow to rest at least 30 mins.
3.Before you start making the Malpua, make the syrup /if you intend to use it.
4.Heat the sugar & water in a wide pan till the sugar dissolves.
5.Bring to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes to get one-string consistency.
6.Add the juice of the lemon & saffron infusion & simmer for 1-2 minutes.
7.Take the sugar-syrup pan off heat & keep it close to the pan you are frying the Malpuas, so it stays warm.
8.While the syrup is getting ready, heat a small fry-pan or a blini pan.
9.When hot, add the ghee or oil for shallow frying (about 1 cm deep) Keep the pan hot on medium heat.
10.Beat the batter again with the whisk for a few strokes to incorporate air into the batter.
11.Use a dessertspoonful batter & gently drop it into the oil and using a tablespoon, quickly spread it to shape it like a small round pancake. 10 cm Ø
12.Cook till light golden and crisp, then using a fork & a spoon gently flip over to cook the other side till crisp & golden.
13.Drain the excess oil off & slide the hot Malpua into the hot syrup. Coat both sides, allow soaking in the syrup till the next Malpua is fried on one side. Drain & remove to a plate.
14.For option 2: If you wish to eat it with milk Rabri, then just remove Malpua to a plate & keep it warm.
15.Keep topping up ghee/ oil maintain the heat, & fry the other Malpuas likewise till all the batter is used.
16.Best eaten fresh, but can be stored up to 2-3 days in a tightly closed box.