Since the time I have started blogging, I have realized even more, that two states share more than just a border. The cities/villages that are closer to the borders have a lot of things common culture wise and food wise. This post of mine explores one such sweet that is a favorite in two states, that are close to my heart.
Chiroti as it is known in Karnataka, or Chirote as it is known in Maharashtra, is a flaky, unleavened pastry that is very traditional in both cuisines. No wedding in Karnataka is complete without the traditional Chiroti served with Almond Milk or Badami Halu. In Maharashtra, it is generally made as one of the Pancha-Pakwanna (5 sweets) on festival days. Making Chiroti can get a little tedious if you are making a large batch all by yourself. So when these delightful Chirotis have to be made on a large scale, all the ladies of the family get together and make them. Talk about Division of Labor ;) Of course, there are easier methods too, which none other than our very own Asha has described here; but I am going to describe the detailed and slightly complicated version...why not, after all, its my mom who made them...I just was taking notes and clicking pictures ;) So this post is really on behalf of my mom and she would like to send this entry for RCI-- Karnataka, hosted by Asha and brainchild of Lakshmi.
Ingredients: (makes about 15)
1/3 cup Maida (All Purpose Flour)
1/3 cup Fine Rawa (Sooji)--use the fine variety as the coarse one does not blend in well.
2 tbsp Oil approx. (Vegetable/Canola)
Water to make the dough
Rice flour to dust
2 tbsp tup (ghee) beaten till fluffy and creamy (unsalted butter can also be used)
Tup (Ghee) to fry (Vegetable/Canola oil can aslo be used but it won't give the same flavor as ghee, what we call 'khamanga pana') :)
For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
Water enough to soak the sugar
Few saffron strands
2-3 tsps Lemon juice
Mix the maida and rawa together and add the oil to it. Mix together. You know the oil is sufficient when the maida-rawa mixture becomes crumbly, ie. when you hold the mixture in your hand it should stick together. Then add water and make a dough like you make for chapatis. The dough should be pliable. Keep aside, covered, for 3 hours at least. The longer it sits, the better.
After 3 hours, take the dough and divide into small balls (size can vary). Now, divide each ball further into 3 more balls. The idea is to make 3 chapatis out of these and layer them on top of each other. Roll out a thin chapati ,without applying a lot of pressure, out of each ball.
Take one chapati, brush some beaten tup (ghee) on the surface...
...dust some rice flour over it and then put another chapati over it.
Apply the beaten ghee on this chapati and dust with the rice flour and place the third chapati on top. Repeat the process of applying ghee and flour. Now roll this layered chapati to make a roll like this,
Do not pat the roll and flatten it with your hand. Instead, pick it up with both hands and pull very gently from each end a little to flatten it. If you pat it to flatten it, the air gets pressed and your Chiroti will not be fluffy.
Now cut this roll into small pieces like this.
Make the sugar syrup before you begin to fry the Chiroti. Take the sugar and add water just enough to soak the sugar. Put it over the heat and let it come to a 2 string consistency. Turn off the heat and add the saffron and lemon juice. Keep aside.
Heat the ghee. Take each small piece and roll out gently without applying too much pressure. The layered edges should be intact.
Once the ghee is hot enough, drop in the rolled out chirotis and fry.
Hold each piece vertical in the hot ghee for a minute, so that it fluffs up.
Then leave it to turn golden brown.
Remove from the ghee and drop into the sugar syrup,
Coat it well with the syrup and place it in a strainer. Tilt the strainer slightly so that the excess syrup will flow down. Let them cool and then store in an airtight container at room temperature. These last for 7-10 days.
Here is a look at the final product....
Instead of dunking them in the sugar syrup, you can also dust them with white powdered sugar while they are still hot. See here.
You can serve these with some Almond Milk. See here, and here.
These can even be stored plain without dipping them in the sugar syrup, which last for about 15 days and can be consumed with any dry chutney.
Finally, the Unsweetened Chiroti can be transformed into a delicious kheer/payasa, which is my favorite and the recipe of which, comes from my grandmother's Karnataka roots.
Heat about a cup of milk. Add sugar according to your liking. Crumble the unsweetened Chirote into the milk once it comes to a boil. Let it come to a boil again and then remove from the heat. Add saffron. Garnish with chopped almonds. Let it sit for a while and then serve. The longer it sits, the thicker it will get and the better it will taste :)