Lapsi

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Blogging. I’m not really sure why I’m here; love of food-sure, boredom-probably. Mostly though, I think I’m here to give my food a place. I’ve had numerous occasions where a friend will say to me, “why don’t you make that again?” It takes a couple of minutes to figure out what exactly “that” is, but once I do remember, instead of relief, a sense of panic sets in. There is no way I can remember how I had made that or which recipe or whose recipe I had followed. I’m really hoping being here will solve that problem for me.

Lapsi. As tradition has it, new beginnings include two things for sure- prayers and sweets. Most indian families will have that one sweet dish which is always made on every auspicious and/or joyous occasion. In my family that sweet dish is lapsi. Lapsi has broken wheat (dalia) as its main ingredient and jaggery (gur) as the sweetener and of course no Indian dessert can be made without ghee or clarified butter. It is usually made in the western region of India, to which I belong. Whenever lapsi is made back home, an offertory to god is a must, but before doing that my mother in law always sprinkles some plain boiled rice on the lapsi. I had never seen or heard of rice on lapsi but my mother in law told me that’s just how its been done in our family, she had no idea why. So without really knowing the reason I too carry on the tradition and always add some rice to the lapsi. I figure some traditions (even though one doesn’t know the reason) can be carried forward just for the sake of it, I mean boiled rice never harmed anyone.

 

My small puja has been with me since the day I got married. It has travelled and stayed with me across three countries and seven different homes.

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Here’s how lapsi is made in my family.

Broken wheat (dalia) – ½ cup

Jaggery (gur) – ½ cup (add upto ¾ cup if you like it sweeter)

Water- 2cups

Ghee- 3-4tbsp

Cardamom powder- ½ tsp

Almonds (slivered) and raisins- 2 tsp each.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add the broken wheat and roast (stirring constantly) on a low-medium flame till the colour of the broken wheat changes from a light brown-golden to a reddish hue and you get a lovely roasted nutty aroma.

While this is happening, in a separate pan mix the jaggery and water and bring to a boil. If any white scum rises to the surface, remove with a spoon and discard.

Slowly and carefully add the jaggery-water mix to the roasted broken wheat. Add the cardamom powder and cover the pan with a lid.  Let it simmer till the water has almost dried up (stir occasionally).

Once the lapsi is cooked, add the almonds and raisins and serve hot. You could add any nuts or dried fruit to the lapsi or leave it out altogether.

Of course I also sprinkle some plain boiled rice before making an offertory.

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The colour of my lapsi is much darker than usual because of the jaggery I used. Back home we get beautiful golden coloured gur and hence the lapsi too has a lovely golden-brown colour to it. Unfortunately, in my tiny little Indian store in Jakarta, all I could get was a really dark, almost black colour gur so that’s what I used and this was the colour i got. That’s ok, the taste is still there.

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