Pathirpeni is a very special sweet to me and to my brother! It was and is still a speciality signature sweet of Aachi my paternal grandmother. I do not remember having pathirpeni in any other house in the big clan that we belong to. The sole supplier to all near and dear ones was Aachi – helped meticulously by Amma – my mother.
I had my miniature ‘Puri kattai’ or the spherical puri maker in wood to specially make pathirpeni and also puris. This was handed over to my daughter who used to help me make rotis, but feels she is a grown up and uses my bigger puri kattai. She painted my dear little puri kattai though the newer roller is intact.
Pathirpeni is for those with that extra sweet tooth – which might be god sent genetically or amma fed affectionately… We siblings have both – hence not one but two extras to successfully acquire that ‘happier the healthier’ plump look!
These are deep-fried crisps dipped/rubbed immediately in powdered sugar to get the snowy white finish. It is a simple sweet with minimal ingredients but one should be ready for some interesting variety of work. The sugar that melts in the mouth first is followed by the crispy crunch of the deep-fried discs.
These also involve an efficient team work. Since the count was always in hundreds, amma or aachi would knead the dough; they would take turns in pressing the spheres and frying in oil – the last quintessential part of rubbing the powdered sugar would be ours – mine and my brother… I think I did the rubbing and he contributed more into something which can also be decently termed as tasting!
So I did the rolling and frying and my 6-year-old did the sugar-coating! She wanted to make her own pathirpeni and then I was a proud mother!!
she started off like this….
and then graduated with flying colours!! – special seven that the little hands made!
These can be stored in air tight containers after cooled for a week – that’s not a concern as its life ends too quickly! Yet the tastiest crisps are those which directly come out of the oil and are delicately transferred for one’s taste buds to relish, sprinkled/rubbed very quickly with powdered sugar.
One cup of flour (about 150 gms), would yield 20-25 crisps. After a no maida/all-purpose flour and no white sugar life for many years now, this one has been an exception. Might be I try next time with whole wheat flour and brown sugar – but have to sacrifice on the colour as wheat flour would result in brown crisps and then we might call it brownie crisps!
Now to the recipe –
Pathirpeni/Sugary Snow White Crisps
Ingredients (makes 30-35)
- maida maavu/all-purpose flour – 1 1/4 cup (200 gms)
- cheeni/sugar – 1 1/4 cup (200 gms)
- thanneer/water – as needed
- uppu/salt – a pinch
- nei/clarified butter – 1 tsp
- arisi maavu/rice powder – 1 tsp
- yennai/oil – for deep frying
Method of Preparation
1. Sieve all-purpose flour, add a pinch of salt and mix enough water to make a tight dough
2. Finely powder the sugar and keep in a wide bowl or plate; the deep fried crisps would directly land inside this bowl to have a sugar bath
3. Heat oil in a pan, keep in sim position
4. In a small bowl, mix clarified butter and rice powder
5. Make three even balls of the dough
6. Spread into flat breads – chappatis/indian roti size – not too thin, not too thick
7. Do not place rotis one on top of the other before spreading the mixture as they would stick to each other and one would have to make the three flat breads again. Make one and place on a plate; spread the butter rice powder mixture, make the second one and place on top of the first; spread the mixture and make the third; now place the third on top of the second. It had become messy as I had placed before spreading – I had to do it all over again. So be cautious on this
8. Roll this triple layered roti . Now it is time to pull the rolled roti as long as possible without spoiling or breaking the texture
9. Then cut into very small bits, size enough to make small circular crisps
these are little big, i had to make them smaller
10. Roll into thin crisps – while rolling, see the side which was cut by knife – make thin puris/crisps pressing the knife cut edge into a circle. This helps the butter mixture to stay intact. Otherwise it would ooze out from the puris.
11. When the oil is ready, roll one by one and fry till crisp. We do not want a fluffy soft puri – make really thin and flat ones that come out crisp
12. Immediately drop it inside the sugar bed and apply well; the powdered sugar must have coated evenly
13. Tap the crisps slightly to reduce the excess sugar
14. Taste one to enjoy the true taste of pathirpeni – this is the most important step in my opinion; having identified the flaws (making thinner or thicker; right shape; less sugar coating; more sugar coating and so on), proceed with the next
15. Make all the crisps and let them cool
16. Store in an air tight container and enjoy.
17. Do not hesitate to help yourself with more – you won’t get those hot crisps after they are cooled – cannot be microwaved or reheated by any means!
- This is a simple one – yet, some caution on important steps would make it easier
- Try one and feel the crispness of it and accordingly try to make corrections on the thinness and crispness of the pathirpeni
- Each time, tap a little to take away the sugar if one doesn’t prefer so much sugar
- Adding cardamom powder to the powdered sugar might add some aroma and flavor though it is not added normally.