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Celebrate Holi with these indulgent malpua. Similar to pancakes, they're coated in sugar syrup and loaded with zingy mango, chopped pistachios and flaked almonds. Make the batter and sugar syrup up to 6 hours in advance so you can relax and enjoy the festivities - simply cover and leave to cool. See method
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Make a batter. Put the flour, cardamon and fennel in a measuring jug with a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk the milk into the mixture until you have a smooth batter. Leave the rest while you make the sugar syrup.
Put the sugar in a small, heavy-based saucepan with 100ml water and place over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to melt completely, then bring to a rolling boil and cook for around 1 min, until the mixture is lightly syrupy.
Remove the syrup from the heat, scoop a little out with a teaspoon, cool for a few secs, then dip your forefinger in it and press together with your thumb. Bring them apart and back together quickly a few times - if your syrup is the right consistency, it should form short threads between your finger and thumb that break when they get to around 1cm long. If they don't, boil it for a bit longer - if they hold for more than 1cm, stir in a little hot water and try again. The consistency is important to the finished texture of the malpua.
Transfer the sugar syrup to a wide-based bowl, stir in the saffron and leave to cool completely.
Once they batter has rested and the syrup is cool, heat a large, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan with around 2cm sunflower oil or ghee in it. Bring it to 180°C when tested with a digital kitchen thermometer, then try and keep it around this temperature. Give the batter a stir, then pour in enough to form a pancake around 8-10cm wide. The batter should sizzle around the edges, giving them a frill. Cook for around 1 min until the underside is deep golden, then flip and repeat.
Remove the pancake from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on kitchen paper, before dipping into the bowl of syrup sugar. Let it soak in for around 20 secs, then turn and repeat, before lifting it out carefully and allowing the excess syrup to drop off. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining malpua. Serve topped with sliced mango, scattered with pistachios and flaked almonds, while still warm.
Tip: While not necessarily traditional, these are delicious served with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt to temper the sweetness.
Tip: If you want to serve all the malpua together, keep the soaked ones warm in a very low oven on a lined baking tray while you cook the rest.
Make ahead: You can make the batter up to 6 hours in advance, just cover and chill until needed. You can also make the sugar syrup in advance - allow to cool covered, then store at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
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