There is a saying in Bengali, 'Chena manush ke notun kore chena' (Getting to know something we already know afresh from a different perspective) This is exactly what had happened with me while I was engrossed in Adil .I. Ahmed's wonderful book, 'Tehzeeb - Culinary Traditions of Awadh' The book is not only a treasure of this aristocrat's family recipes but it explores a by-gone way of living.
I have always known that Bengal's cuisine is greatly influenced by many culture's cuisines, Awadh being a great influence. Its not as if Benga's cuisine is exactly like Awadh's but the influences are seen quite distinctly. Take the example of Egg Halwa, an egg based halwa dish which is very popular in present day Bangladesh which was a part of undivided Bengal and it finds its roots nestled in Awadhi cuisine.
When I came across the recipe for Piyau Bare in the book I immediately felt that I know it and it immediately hit me that we have a variation of the same recipe in Bengal which goes by the name, 'Rosh bora' meaning juicy syrupy fritters. Piyau bare is more majestic with the use of saffron and Vetivier water aka Kewra water and is served with cream which is completely left out in Bengal.
To be fair after making this extremely easy yet delectable sweet dish I actually find the creamy version even better than the one I have grown up with and it being Diwali its the Festival of Indulgence as well.
Recipe Source: The Culinary cookbook Tehzeeb
The author credits Saba Hasan for the recipe
I have reduced the quantities to suit my audience since we are 2 people in this house
1/2 cup of Split black gram
2 cups of sugar
3/4th cup water
Fat pinch of Saffron
1/2 tsp Vetivier water aka Kewra water
Vegetable oil for frying
100ml thick cream
Soak the lentil for a good 2 hours to 2.5 hours. The longer its soaked the fluffier it will be.
Now make a fluffy paste of the lentil by first draining it of all the water and grinding it with 1 tbsp of the water it is soaked in. Make sure you scrape the sides of the grinder so that it becomes a smooth fluffy consistency. The trick to getting a fluffier batter is to grind the already ground lentil a second time with 1 tsp water.
Now soak the saffron in 1 tbsp water and make a syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil and simmering it for 10 minutes or so. It should be of a single thread consistency. Add the saffron and Kewra water and simmer l for a few seconds.
Now heat oil and fry the fritters. Keep a bowl of water near you and dip your fingers in the water and scoop out a bit of batter and make a ball and fry it on low heat till it reaches a golden stage. I like mine the colour of gold but you can fry it a bit longer to get a brownish hue. Remember to never increase the heat else the fritters might burn. keep adjusting the heat between low to medium.
Once fried use a kitchen towel to absorb extra oil and soak the fritters in the syrup for about 10 minutes and take it out and then serve it topped with cream.
If you like your cream thick like I do whip it with a fork for 1 minute and put it in the refrigerator when you soak the pulse so that by the time you serve it it is quite thick.
Enjoy a not so popular but exquisite dessert
This is part of Kolkata Food Blogger's Ongoing Event,
Deepavali Festival of Lights with Sweets n Savouries