Indian cuisine has few overlapping flavours. With such a diverse topography – from snow-capped mountains to arid deserts, from beautiful coastlines to leafy tropical forest – the variety of ingredients here are unlike those in any other part of the world. They are different from one another, even within the country, and this is reflected in the way the cuisine changes as you move from one region to another.
For the sugar syrup
- 3 cups sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tsp saffron threads
For the baati
- 2 cups mawa
- ½ cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp milk powder
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- Milk, as needed
- Ghee, for deep-frying
- Pinch of ground green cardamom
- To make the sugar syrup: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low-medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Cook, stir continuously and bring to a boil. Boil until you achieve a two-thread consistency, also called soft-ball stage. Remove from heat and add the saffron threads. Set aside.
- To make the baati: In a small bowl, mix the nuts with the cardamom and set aside.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the mawa, flour, and milk powder. Knead it into a smooth dough. Add 2-3 tbsp of milk if it doesn’t come together. Divide the dough into 7-8 small balls. Place some of the nut mixture in the center of each and flatten it.
- In a deep skillet over low heat, heat the ghee for deep-frying.
- Carefully add the batti to the hot ghee and deep-fry until brown and crispy. Drain and dip in the warm sugar syrup. Let soak in the liquid for 1 hour before serving.
- Garnish with green cardamom pods, if desired.
Excerpted with permission from Tiffin, edited by Sonal Ved, Roli Books.