There’s something about the Diwali festival, that gets me all excited and ready to pull out fried snacks and sweets that are otherwise a taboo. This entree is a speciality and the recipe comes down from the maternal side of my family. In the olden days, all the women family members would gather together in the huge courtyards and kitchens and create these delicacies over a couple of days before Diwali. These would then be divided among the family which would in turn be gifted to friends. It was called Diwali Nasta and people would be invited to partake in it.
Today, no one has the time or the energy to create these foods. People hire out maharajs (cooks) or buy ready-made sweets and savoury items. But my family, prefers to make a couple of entrees ourselves. This is one of them. It’s a laborious and time intensive process, but the results are superb.
Saat Padi ( or Seven Layered Sweet Puri)
- 400 grams Maida or all purpose flour
- 100 grams pure ghee
- 1/2 kg ghee for frying
- 1/2 sugar syrup or one thread consistency
- 100 grams cornflour
- 4 different food colours
1. Take 25 gms of cornflour, add a tablespoon of pure ghee, vanilla essence and any one food colour. Mix it well till it is light and fluffy. Put it aside. Similarly make fillings of all four colours and keep aside.
2. Add 3 tablespoons of pure ghee of the all purpose flour and knead it with water till it is easily pliable. Divide into 7 equal parts.
3. Taking the help of flour, roll each of the parts into a round large disc.
4. Once all the discs are ready you need to start assembling it. Start with placing cling film on a large and clean surface. Dust it with flour. Place one disc on it and add 2 dollops of any one colour cornflour mix. Spread the filling evenly on the disc. Place another disc on the coloured cornflour surface and spread another colour. Build the layers up in this form till you reach the top layer and have spread the cornflour mix over it.
5. Now the edges of the layered discs such that you have all the discs in your hand and start rolling them into a thick but tight log. Cover with cling film and place it in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours.
6. When cold enough, divide the log into three parts. Keep one part aside and place the other two in the fridge again.
7. Thin out of the roll to a 1-inch thickness and cut it into 1/2 inch roundels. With a rolling pin flatten them further.
8. In a deep dish pan, heat ghee and when it is hot start frying these puri’s one at a time. The puri’s will fluff up but you need to fry it really carefully so it doesn’t break up.
9. Cool the puri’s and once they are really cold, spread some sugar solution on it. Once it is set, store the Saat Padi in an air tight container.
10. For the sugar free version, sprinkle the puri’s with your favourite powdered sweetener. I’ve used Splenda.