According to the Vaishnava Puranas Lord Mahavishnu descends on earth every day. He baths at Rameswaram, meditates at Badrinath, dines at Puri and retires at Dwarika. Hence, Puri is believed as an abode for food.
The kitchen of Lord Jagannath Temple is one of the largest in the world and employs more than 600 cooks. It can feed 100,000 people in a few hours’ notices. Only vegetables indigenous to the region are used for preparing the meal for Lord Jagannath. 56 varieties of food items are served to him every day for the Madhyanna Dhupa or Midday Meal. All the food is cooked in earthen pots using the traditional method of wood fire stove. These pots are used only once. The food is first served to Lord Jagannath then to Goddess Bimala Devi after which it is deemed the Mahaprasad. It is held to be of supreme importance.
Here comes Amalu or Odia Malpua, Fried Banana Pancakes Soaked in Sweet Syrup. These are served during Sakala Dhupa or Morning Meal to the Lord. This is one of the popular sweets in the East and North parts of India and every region has its own recipe. Adding mashed banana and fennel seeds makes the Odia Malpua unique. These are made specially during the festivals in Odisha.
Let’s see how to make these simple malpuas.
- All Purpose Flour - 300 gm
- Large Ripe Banana - 01 No
- Boiled Milk - 400 ml
- Cardamom Pods - 05 Nos
- Fennel Seeds - 0.5 tablespoon
- Saffron Strands - A Few
- Ghee - As Required
- Sugar - 300 gm
- Badam - 10 Nos
- Pista - 10 Nos
- Water - As Required
- Remove the skin and chop the banana into small pieces. In a blender add the banana pieces, milk, sugar & fennel seeds and blend it well.
- Add the all-purpose flour little by little to the blended mix and blend it well until it forms a fine batter.
- In another pan add sugar, crushed cardamom pods, saffron strands and 700 ml of water. Heat it on low flame until sugar dissolves completely and forms a string syrup with string consistency.
- Turn off the flame. Keep it aside and let it cool.
- In a pan heat enough ghee on medium flame and pour a small ladle of the batter and fry it until it turns golden brown.
- Repeat the same for remaining batter and keep the fried pancakes aside.
- Add the fried pancakes one by one to the sugar syrup and soak them overnight or at least for 5 hours.
- Store the malpuas in the fridge after 5 hours until it is served.
- Serve the malpuas after a tummy filling lunch as desserts sprinkling little chopped almond and pista pieces.
You can also add grated coconut and rava in the malpua batter. Do not use oil for frying the malpuas. It doesn't taste good. Use a flat pan for frying the malpuas and make them as thin as possible.