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a Melting Delicacy Called Soan-papdi

Posted on the 04 October 2022 by Sampathkumar Sampath

Navrathri, Deepavali and every festival – across all age groups – the most enamouring thing is Sweets ! – what is your favourite delicacy ? – laddu, mysorepak, coconut burfi, milk-sweets, rasamalai, basanthi .. .. the subject-matter of this post is the one that we longed to lick in our younger days !!

a melting delicacy called Soan-papdi

ஞாபகம் வருதே !!- ஞாபகம் வருதே !! - பொக்கிஷமாக நெஞ்சில் புதைந்த நினைவுகள் எல்லாம் .. .. சுமார் முப்பது நாற்பது ஆண்டுகள் முன் !  - தள்ளு வண்டி, கண்ணாடி குடுவை, மணியோசை, வட இந்தியர் .. குறைந்த காசுகள் - நிறைய எதிர்பார்ப்புகள் !! - நாவில் ஊறும் திகட்டாத இனிமையும் இன்பமும்  - சோன் பாப்டி என அந்த வெள்ளை நிற லாகிரி வஸ்துவை அழைத்தனர்.

In recent times, have bought Haldirams .. .. there are  many branded and unbranded ones too .. it first attracts your eyes and appeases  the taste buds – though could be found cheaper always, has been a much sought after sweet !!  - the one that would just vanish, melt in tongue !  Even though many states of Northern India – especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is popular for its sweet, this one's a specialty of the towns of Buxar and Munger

a melting delicacy called Soan-papdi

Soan papdi is made by combining sugar, gram-flour and ghee. Soan Papdi, is a crisp, flaky and melt-in-your-mouth confection that sends your taste buds into a blissful journey with each bite. Students of Economics would well know the ‘law of diminishing returns’ !  .. .. but there is golden chance that this logic would fail when sonpapdi is offered.   One can think of eating more pieces of Gulab Jamun or Rasgulla because they are smaller, tastier, and sometimes come with fillings, yet the Soan papdi would perhaps win hands down.  Accept the real situation, a box of soan .. .. none at home – for sure, you would make ten or more trips to kitchen, each time devouring some little portion, telling that am going to keep this for couple of days, but find it emptied in the evening.  This time, when I traveled to Bengaluru in evening Shatabdi, it was offered, neatly packed and provided irresistible temptation.  .. .. and if it is prickier, it is more merrier !! 

a melting delicacy called Soan-papdi

Soan papdi  is a popular dessert in the Indian subcontinent. The term sohan is stated to be of Persian origin, bearing  some resemblance to the Persian sohan pashmaki, that  gave rise to the Turkish pişmaniye.  It is usually cube-shaped or served as flakes, and has a crisp and flaky texture. Traditionally sold loose in rolled paper cones, modern industrial production has led it to being sold in the form of tightly-formed cubes. Some say  Soan papdi is  a native of Uttar Pradesh, while some claim it to be of Bihar.  Its main ingredients are sugar, gram flour, flour, ghee, almond, milk, and cardamom. 

May be you can try this at home, unlikely you would end up anything closer to the one sold on the streets – that dome shaped glass container and the paper in which small quantity is offered :

1/2 cup gram flour (Besan)

1/2 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cups of ghee

few pods of cardamom (elaichi)

2 tablespoon rose water (optional)

few toasted unsalted almonds and pistachios bits (garnish)     

might sound simple - Heat ghee in medium heat in a large saucepan; Slowly toast flours until light brown.  Remove from heat to a big bowl.  Do keep ready,  sugar syrup prepared  by dissolving sugar in water until you get thick syrup  At this stage, syrup will form a ball when dropped in cold water and when removed from the water can be easily flattened (soft ball stage). Getting a correct syrup consistency is one of the most important step. Mix syrup in bowl with toasted flour; Beat until it forms flakes. Add almonds and pistachios bits; Pour into a baking dish (cake dish). Pat it down into ~ 1 inch thickness. Wait   half an hour or so. Cut into pieces – eat to your heart’s content and serve !! 

Buxar is a nagar parishad city in the state of Bihar,  bordering Uttar Pradesh.  The historic Battle of Chausa and Battle of Buxar were fought in the vicinity. Buxar Railway Station lies on Patna–Mughalsarai section of Howrah–Delhi main line. It is approximately 125 km from the state capital of Patna. The local language of Buxar is Bhojpuri. 

Munger, too is in Bihar. Munger was one of the major cities in Eastern India and undivided Bengal during Mughal period and British Raj.   The twin city comprises Munger and Jamalpur situated on the southern bank of the river Ganges. Munger is said to have been founded by the Guptas (4th century CE)   In 1763, the Nawab of Bengal Mir Qasim made Munger his capital and built an arsenal and several palaces.  

Buxar, Munger or Haldiram who cares !  .. .. one only thinks of that melting Soan papdi.  Quite unfortunate that diabetics can only describe or write on this !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Oct 2022.

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