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Malpua (India)


Malpua are fried pancakes with a coconut and fennel flavor that are soaked in a cardamom and saffron-scented syrup.  They’re popular for holidays across India, including in the area around Khajuraho, and I felt we could use an Indian dessert in the recipe portfolio. 


Makes 9 malpua



  • 1 cup granulated white sugar (200 grams)

  • 3/4 cup water (180 ml)

  • 4 green cardamom pods

  • few saffron strands

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (132 grams)

  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder (54 grams)

  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut powder (28 grams)

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, slightly crushed

  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

  • pinch salt

  • pinch baking powder

  • 1.5 cups milk (use warm milk) 360 ml + more as needed to make thick pouring consistency batter
    oil or ghee for frying



  1. Make the sugar syrup by mixing 1 cup sugar with 3/4 cup water in a pan.

  2. Heat on medium, add crushed cardamom pods and saffron strands.

  3. Let the sugar dissolve, this should take around 2-3 minutes.

  4. Once the sugar dissolves,  add lemon juice and let the syrup simmer for around 3 minutes more until it becomes sticky.

  5. Remove the pan from the hot burner, and move to one set on very low.

  6. To make the batter for the malpua, add flour, milk powder and desiccated coconut to a large bowl.

  7. Add crushed fennel seeds, sugar, pinch of salt and pinch of baking powder and mix well.

  8. Start adding warm milk, little by little and whisk to form a smooth batter. The batter should have no lumps. It should be a thick batter, but you should be able to pour it, like pancake batter. If yours looks too thick, add more milk.

  9. Let the batter rest for 15 to 30 minutes. This is crucial as it allows the baking powder to leaven.

  10. Heat enough oil or ghee in a wide pan on medium heat. You aren't deep-frying these, so a good cast-iron skillet with a centimeter of oil should do the trick.

  11. Pour a small ladle full of batter into the hot oil.

  12. Lower the heat to low-medium and fry the malpua until golden brown from both sides. When you are frying one side, splash oil over the other side (which isn't dipped in oil) with a spatula so that it gets little cooked too at the same time. Flip and then completely fry the other side.

  13. Remove the malpua from oil carefully, then repeat with the rest of the batter.

  14. Dip the malpua in prepared sugar syrup. Soak each side for 30 seconds.

  15. Remove malpua from the sugar syrup and place on serving plate. Garnish with nuts if you like and serve warm.


Recipe adapted from


Image from Wikipedia user Ssgapu22

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