Some 50 km southeast of Lahore is the city of Kasur – a very ancient settlement which existed as an agricultural town surrounded by forests even during the Indus Valley Civilization. According to Hindu mythology, Kasur was founded by Prince Kusha and Lahore by Price Lava, sons of Hindu deities Rama and Sita. Now the city is more famous because of the shrine of Sufi Saint Bulleh Shah.
The foodies in the country associate Kasur with very aromatic Kasuri Methi (fenugreek), Kasuri Falooda (frozen milk dessert), Kasuri fried fish and the humble but delicious Andrasay. Andrasay or more popularly know as Anarsay across the border, are flat discs or lemon sized balls made with rice flour, sugar and ghee(clarified butter), rolled in sesame seeds and deep fried till very crispy on the outside.
Andrasay have become a must-eat treat in melas(funfairs) held around the shrines of different saints all over Punjab. In India andrasay or anarsay are a part and parcel of Diwali celebrations. They are popular as street food even in Nepal. Now if you are fond of them but whimsical about buying them from roadside because of dubious hygiene standards and bad quality of oil used for frying, you can make them at home in minutes with this easy Andrasay recipe.
You shall be surprised how economical and fun it is to make them at home. With just a cup and 1/2 of rice flour, same quantity of sugar or jaggery, you can make around two dozen Andrasay easily. And then you can control the quantity of sugar and quality of oil being used. I use jaggery or organic brown sugar and keep the sweetness mild. This Andrasay recipe is quick version of the traditional recipe. Traditionally the rice are soaked for three days, then dried and ground to a coarse flour. Then the dough is left to rest for 3-4 hours.
In my quick and easy Anrasay recipe, I use readily available rice flour and use a pinch of soda to cut down resting time for the dough. You can easily double the recipe to cater to a bigger crowd. Andrasay stay nice and crisp for days when stored in an airtight jar which means you can comfortably make them ahead of a special occasion.
1+1/2 cup rice flour
1+1/2 cup jaggery(gur), Brown or regular sugar.
1/4 cup semolina or plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch salt
1 teaspoon green cardamom crushed
2 tablespoons clarified butter/ghee
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sesame seeds
Oil for deep frying
This Is What You Do:
Mix rice flour, semolina, baking soda and salt in a big mixing bowl.
Heat water in a saucepan, add sugar/jaggery and crushed cardamom. Cook and stir till sugar is completely diluted.
Remove from heat and let it come down to room temperature.
Add ghee to the flour mix and rub with your fingers to make a crumbly texture. Gradually add the sugar/jaggery syrup to flour mix and keep mixing and kneading till you get a firm dough. You might need a little less or more water to get the right consistency.
Make small lemon sized balls with the dough.
Add sesame seeds to a plate and roll all the Andrasay to coat them completely with seeds.
Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan on medium low heat. Fry in batches till Andrasay are golden and crisp on out side, 4-5 minutes each batch.
If the oil is too hot, they will burn on the outside and stay raw in the inside. Also very hot oil makes them crack and break. Inside should be soft and somewhat gooey but taste cooked. You can fry just one to begin with, to get some idea of the time and temperature on your stove.
Remove them from oil in a colander. Serve warm or let them come to room temperature and then store in an airtight jar.
Makes 2 dozen.