As a child, Gangaur to me, meant one thing and one thing only……Special Jodhpuri Rabri Ghevar. Oh and you thought I was about to say ‘Fasting and praying for a good husband’, didn’t you? Well, Gotcha :). I would have, if I were that kind of a girl. Nothing wrong with praying for a good life partner but what doesn’t sit well with me is the fact that finding a good husband becomes the entire life’s mission for the girl’s parents and her whole life spins around it or at least it used to be the case in my days ( I sound like a 90-year-old woman, now). It would seem as if we are talking a spinning top but believe me we are still talking about a human being here. It was the only thing that depicted how successful her entire life had been and how big her accomplishments had been because clearly, I didn’t see a festival out there praying for best education from the top schools or becoming a successful career woman, did you?
I am not denying the power of praying. Nor am I undermining the fact that it’s extremely important to find the right life partner in life. After all, we are talking about our whole lives here but shouldn’t that be true for both the partners? Isn’t it equally important for men to find their compatible bride? Also, it highlighted a deep-rooted problem that girls didn’t have much of a choice anyways in choosing their life partners so their only option was to pray.
That hasn’t changed a whole lot, in my humble opinion. In an era where Deepika Padukone is busy advocating ‘My Choice’ all over the internet, girls are still being ‘forced’ cum ‘trained’ to marry the boy her parents deem fit. Husbands are still being put on a pedestal and treated like Demi-gods. It is quite sad, if you ask me.
What’s not sad is getting to eat the yummiest of food around this time of the year. It probably is my favorite time of the year because a day before Gangaur (Sinjare), kitchen would close down and the only dinner in our household used to be Pyaz ki Kachori and Rabri Ghevar. Man, I am telling you, I would wait entire year for this day when we would be asked to eat fried, high-calorie, yummilicious, drool-worthy Ghevar rather than us begging for it. Tell me, if it isn’t the best festival or what? When you put a piece of that flaky Ghevar shell fried in ghee, topped with heavenly Rabri, nuts and sugar syrup in your mouth, you will pray for Gangaur to come every week, I promise.
- 250 gms All Purpose Flour
- 50 gms Vegetable Shortening or Ghee
- 50 gms Milk
- 1 cup Water or as needed
- 14 Ice Cubes
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 3/8 cup (1/4 +1/8) Water
- 10 drops of Lemon juice
- 5 cups 2% Milk (You can use whole milk too.)
- one 12 oz. can Evaporated Milk
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
- 3/4 tsp Cardamom Powder
- 60 gms Almonds, blanched, peeled and chopped lengthwise
- 40 gms Pistachios, blanched, peeled and chopped lengthwise
- Silver Varak and Saffron to garnish
- In a bowl, add shortening and 4 ice cubes. Then using your hands, beat the shortening until its fluffy. (The ice cubes were reduced to half their volume by then, just to give an idea.) Take out the ice cubes and add to the water.
- In the water, add the remaining 10 ice cubes and let it chill.
- To the shortening, add little flour, then mix well. Add some milk and make a smooth, lump free paste. Add more flour and repeat the procedure. When you run out of milk, start adding water (save the ice cubes for last) until all flour is finished and batter resembles full-fat whole milk consistency. Discard the left over water.
- Pass the batter through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Now add the left over ice cubes to it.
- In a tall, thick bottomed pot, (I used a double insulated milk boiling pot of 5 inch by 5 inch) add ghee until 1/4th full and let it heat up on high (gas mark 8/10) heat.
- Avoiding the ice cubes, fill about 120-150 ml batter in a measuring cup (with spout). This amount is enough to make one Ghevar. But this amount has to be added in 8-9 additions to form those net like layers. Drop roughly 1/8th amount (or a ladle)of that batter from height (about a feet) so that it forms a continuous stream. You will see it splattering, foaming and moving on the side of the vessel.
- When the foam settles down, pour another 1/8th batter in the center (and not on the Ghevar layer in the pot). You will find it moving to the side and forming a layer on top of the previous one.
- Using the stick end of a long wooden spoon (mine was about 10 inches), move the batter in the center to the side, thus making a nice sized hole in the center to pour the batter in.
- Keep repeating until you finish the batter in the measuring cup. With each pour, the hole in the Ghevar should become smaller.
- When Ghevar has nicely browned, put the stick end of spoon into the hole and lift the Ghevar up carefully. Keep it holding over the pot for about 30 seconds until all ghee drains off. Keep the Ghevar aside to cool off.
- Repeat this process until all the batter is finished.
- In a pan, add sugar, water and saffron and let it boil until it reaches 1-string consistency. Turn off the stove, add lemon juice to prevent crystallization and let it cool off.
- Stack the Ghevars one on top of the other (to avoid wasting the syrup dripping from the Ghevar) and pour the syrup with a spoon, little by little, all over the top Ghevar.
- When done, keep aside the top Ghevar and continue with next one until done with all. Keep them aside.
- In a non stick pan, add milk, evaporated milk, cardamom powder and sugar. Let it reduce on slow flame. Keep stirring it so that it doesn't stick to the bottom or change its color. It should remain white at all times.
- When the milk reduces to a thick paste, turn off the stove.
- Right before serving, warm the Rabri and spread it over Ghevar. Sprinkle the nuts and saffron over it and apply varak. Serve it warm.
Choosing a pot is extremely critical in making Ghevar. Since ghee foams up and rises to surface, you need a tall pot. You also need it to be thick bottomed so that ghee doesn't burn. If it's small in diameter, it is better because it will not use up too much ghee for frying.
Using oil to fry the Ghevar is an offence. Please use ghee 🙂
Batter should be cold at all times. Make sure you don't pour ice along with the batter into ghee. That is a fire hazard.
At all times, ghee in the pot should touch the top layer of Ghevar so that it is being cooked at the same time as the bottom one. If not, then add more ghee.
Temperature of the ghee should always be high. The batter should splatter when you pour it in ghee and ghee should rise and foam up before settling down.
Pour the next layer after ghee has settled down or else Ghevar will not crisp up.
You need both Ghevar and sugar syrup to cool down before pouring the syrup over Ghevar. This will keep the Ghevar crispy.
You can use ghee instead of shortening but shortening makes ghevar more crispy.
You can use all milk for making Rabri too. I added enough evaporated milk to speed up the process but not enough for it to be more than the amount of milk. More the milk, better the taste of Rabri.
Rabri thickens as it cools off so turn off the stove one step before you would want to, if you are eating it for later. All of this process looks complicated and scary but after making one Ghevar, it will get quite easy.
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