So for those of you who don’t know this is probably the most celebrated and festive time of the year for Indians- DIWALI! Generally translated as the “festival of lights” it’s our New Years, and Indian house-holds are lit with colorful lights, candles (deepas) and we do fireworks! If you go to Indian at this time of the year, there will be Diwali celebrations everywhere- especially in the streets! Its more of a traditional-cultural celebration rather than a religious celebration. However, if you are interested in the religious Hindu basis for Diwali, I’ll give you a brief summary. It signifies the return of Ram to the villages, and deepas were in lit in rows and rows to welcome him home. Furthermore, it represents the victory of good over evil, as Narakasura was killed (by Krishna’s wife Satyabhama).
Anyways, on to more important and scrumptious news, I saw and helped my Mommy make traditional Diwali sweets, and one is called Chiroti. Its really good- sweet, gooey and crunchy all at the same time! It almost resembled funnel cake, but crunchier and tastier (in my opinion!). Plus its flavored with cardamom and saffron, and it’s pretty simple to make! I figured people would enjoy making this at home, even if it’s not to celebrate Diwali. Also, it can be made VEGAN! So all you vegan folks who want to eat Indian sweets, this is an option for you! Here we go!
Dough Ingredients: (the Indian names of the ingredients)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (Maida)
- 1 cup fine cream of wheat (Suji)
- salt- pinch
- 1/2 cup butter/oil (Ghee)
- 2 tbsp oil/butter (Ghee)
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour (Maida)
Saffron Syrup: 1:1 ratio
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp cardamom (crushed)
- 1/2 tsp Saffron
For the Dough:
1. Mix the 2 cups flour, cream of wheat, salt and ghee. Form it into a dough ball and set aside. Cover with a damp cheese cloth/towel. Should rest for a minimum of 2 hours.
After 2 hours..
1. Kneed the dough (making sure to not overwork) and form in a log or big ball. Pull about 3-4 inches of the dough in your hand, and roll into a small ball. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the ball out into a thin, round sheet (about 8-10′ in length). Be careful not to tear it, it’s very delicate! Set aside on a large platter, and cover with the damp cheesecloth. You want to roll out 2 more sheets like this, and set aside.
2. In a small microwaveable dish, add the 2 tbsp ghee/butter/oil and 2 tbsp flour and heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
3. Using a brush or your finger tips (trust me its much easier to go authentic and use your hands!), brush a thin layer of flour-ghee mixture onto the first sheet of dough. Place the 2nd sheet on top, and layer it with the ghee mixture. Add the 3rd sheet, and layer with ghee mixture.
All 3 sheets layered with ghee mixture:
4. Carefully, roll the 3 layers together into a long log.
5. Using a knife, cut the log into small 1′ pieces. Place on a platter and cover with damp cheese cloth until they are ready for frying.
6. Once you’ve cut all of them, using the same rolling pin (floured) roll each piece into a 3-4 inch round disk. You should be able to see all the layers, and don’t roll it out too thin!
7. In a large deep frier, heat 2-3 cups of vegetable oil. After a few minutes, add just a little piece of dough to see if the oil is hot and ready (dough just fry up and come to the surface of the oil). Place the chiroti pieces into the oil, only a few at a time (they need space to breathe and cook!), and fry until a golden brown color. DO NOT OVER-FRY! Place on paper-towels. Fry all the chirotis, and set aside to cool.
8. To make the sugar syrup, add sugar and water to a large pot, and boil until it becomes thick. Before it’s completed, add saffron and cardamom. Stir and before dipping chirotis, you want to make sure that the syrup is THICK, NOT watery. It must stick to the chirotis, not run off.
9. Dip the chirotis into the syrup and coat generously. Place on a serving platter. They can be served warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 40 small chirotis.