Daily Archives: June 25, 2008


I remember one time, when I went back home for Diwali after I had started working. My brother was going to come too, and my mother started to make shakkarparas as a welcome treat, since this was always¬† one of his favorite meetha snacks. When she got to the part where the fried paras have to be turned in the gradually-crystallizing sugar syrup(this can be quite tiring), she let out a sigh of exhaustion and said – “there is no one else I will do this for anymore, except Bittu”.

I understood what she meant only when I made shakkarparas all by myself for the first time 3 years ago, for the “Cuisine du Monde” day at Indira’s kindergarten.

It sure is hard work, but well worth the trouble when you see little faces tentatively munching first a small half of one para to try what it tastes like, then coming back for a handful.

Here’s my mother’s recipe for this delicious treat.

500 gms of refined flour

220-250 gms of oil

300-400 gms of milk

500 gms of sugar

Add a pich of salt to the flour and then gradually mix in the oil.

Now make a stiff dough using 300-400 gms of lukewarm milk.

Divide the dough into 4-5 equal-sized balls and roll out each to a thickness of 1/4 cm.

Cut the sheets you thus obtain into little squares (no bigger than 3cm by 3cm or they could break when you are turning them in the syrup, in the next step) and fry these until they turn a light brown, in medium-hot oil.

While you fry the paras, dissolve the sugar in one cup (200ml measure) of water in a large pan (like a wok) and heat till a 2-strand syrup is formed or till you start to see a slight deposit of sugar forming on the side of the pan.

Now add the fried squares to this syrup and toss them gently in the syrup over a moderately hot setting until the syrup has completely dried up. At this point, the squares will be well-coated with an almost powdery deposit of crystallized sugar.

Make sure to stir the shakkarparas from time to time to keep them from sticking to each other, while the syrup dries.

Guaranteed to please young and old alike !!


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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks

The Beginning – Diwali,2007

That seems like a good place to begin this blog.

As I did when Indira was in her last year of kindergarten,¬† last Diwali too I decided that I would send some Indian sweets to the girls’ schools. I hoped to introduce the festival to their friends and teachers, and to encourage the girls to share the excitement at home -over the puja, the fire crackers, and the annual potluck with all our Indian friends – with their friends in school. They are so crazy about Christmas, I guess I want them to be equally enthused about Diwali as well.

So I made some shakkarparas, and some gajar ka halwa, for the teachers and children of Indira’s class and for those in Noor’s playschool.

I was quite overwhelmed by the delighted response from both places. Both the shakkarparas and the halwa were big successes in both schools; Indira’s teacher got all the kids in class to make a thank you card for me that I’ll cherish forever.

And the real icing on the cake that day? I found, when I went to pick up Indira that day, that her teacher had in fact bought a book about Diwali , with lovely pictures, on her last trip to England and was planning to tell the class about the festival in any case !!

The picture here is of the rangoli done outside the door of our apartment by our friend Sumitha. While I watched in admiration as Sumitha made the pattern on the floor with rice flour so effortlessly, I was also amused by the utterly fascinated look on Indira’s face as she watched Sumitha at work. That made all the organization for the potluck worthwhile.

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Filed under LE FUTTED BALLON-life with the girls