Shakar Parae, Sweet Pastry Squares
This is one of those sweet snack that is very more…ish! Shakkar means sugar in Hindi and Para is a fragment or a piece of pastry. Parae is plural of para. They are square or diamond shaped small pastry squares, coated in sugar syrup.
250 gm. plain white flour or maida
75 gm. clarified butter or ghee or cooking oil
Water to make dough
Oil for deep frying
500 gm. sugar or shakkar
2 cups water for the syrup
Place flour and ghee in a bowl and make a stiff dough by adding water slowly. With this amount of ghee, very little water is required. Knead it well. Dough can be made quickly in a food processor. Keep it covered with a moist cloth for 10 minutes or so.
Break dough to make golf size balls.
Roll each ball out on a flat surface, to a circle of 1/2 centimetre thickness. You may need to use a little oil to grease the surface and your rolling pin.
Using an knife or a pizza cutter (do not use too sharp a knife or you will damage your kitchen top), make diagonal, linear cuts all the way across the circle, roughly 2 cm. apart. Now make diagonal cuts in opposite direction. You will now have diamond or square shaped ‘pare' of approximately 1 1/2 cm. size each. Lift them off on to a plate, using a flat spatula. Keep covered with a moist cloth.
Heat oil in a wok or kadhai. It should not be smoking hot. The pastry should cook slowly or it will not get crisp. The best way to check if the oil is hot enough is to drop a small piece of dough into the wok. If it is ready, the pastry will sizzle and rise to the top slowly. Fry until light brown and crisp.
Repeat the same process until all the dough has been used. Allow to cool.
Make Sugar Syrup by boiling water and sugar in a wok, until you have a syrup of 3 wires. To check this, dip the spatula in the syrup, lift it out and touch with your forefinger, taking care not to burn your finger. Now touch the forefinger with the thumb and separate slowly. You should get 3 wires stretching between the finger & thumb.
Put all pastry diamonds or ‘pare’ in the syrup and stir/mix quickly, coating each and everyone of them with the syrup.
Take out and allow to cool on a tray or plate, making sure that they are not clumped together. If a few stick together, they can be separated when cold.
Cool and store in an airtight tin or box.
Serve with tea or coffee.
*The syrup must be 3 wire consistency or the shakar-paras will get soggy.