There are some foods that are just magic: they have the Proustian power to transport you through time and space, to where you began, to when you felt most loved, and most safe. That warm kitchen, that sweet food, the murmuring of women talking as they cooked. We all have comfort foods that take us back to our childhoods, and this gur papdi is one of mine.
Gur papdi is the simplest of sweets made with the simplest of ingredients, a mix of ghee, atta flour, nuts, jaggery and spices, and a recipe that has been handed down by many grandmothers past. To make a large tray of gur papdi, you will need:
2 cups atta flour
1 1/2 cups ghee
3/4 cup of ground nuts (any or a mix will do: almond, pistachio, cashew)
1 1/2 cups jaggery
cardamom to flavour (optional)
Heat the ghee in a large heavy based frying pan, and when it is hot add the flour. Stir fry the flour and cook until it is golden brown, then stir in the nuts and keep cooking for a minute or two.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the jaggery. Keep stirring to mix well. Add a couple of pinches of powdered cardamom now too, if you like.
When everything is well mixed, tip it out into a large flat tray like a thali, and spread it flat. You want it to be as compressed as possible, my mum uses the bottom of a saucepan to 'thump' it into place (clearly a refined cooking technique).
Cut the gur papdi into squares or diamond shapes, and keep in an airtight container.