A sequel to ‘Pous Mela & Malai Kulfi: A Story in Two Parts’
Okay. So I’m not going to tell you HOW crowded Pous Mela is or HOW noisy the streets of Bolpur are during the fair or HOW difficult and rare it is to get a chance to stroll cozily around the fair ground and take your time to browse through the stalls and get enough time to ruminate whether to purchase something or not but one thing I’m definitely going to tell you is that HOW serendipitously you might come across food stalls and recipes with the most bizarre of names which taste equally…um…well, unusual? Yeah. Quite unusual and say what, GO-OOD!
Of course, by now you must be wondering what am I talking about? The thing is, during our stay in Bolpur , on one of our visits to the fair, this one time we came across this food stall advertising itself in big block letters: MATHURA CAKE. The name seemed utterly unusual (well, yeah…again) to us, the moment we saw it. And why not? It was unlike anything (I’m talking about cakes here) that we’d ever heard or seen before. Cakes from Mathura? Isn’t Mathura supposed to be the land of temples? So we started walking towards the stall to take a closer look at it. And then, as we were walking towards the stall, watching all the people go by and the many stalls going past us, we noticed one more stall with the same board: MATHURA CAKE. In big block letters, of course. And that’s not about it, there was one more. Or two. Or perhaps, three. Well, what I’m trying to get at is that this MATHURA CAKE, in no way, was a unique, you-only-find-it-here-thing in this place. Given the number of stalls we encountered till we reached the one we’d spotted first (we went to that stall because that is the one we’d spotted first and so it sort of seemed right), the consumption of MATHURA CAKE, there, was rampant, if the word is not an overstatement. It sort of seemed awkward to us that we don’t know about it. I know I sound very dramatic here, but that’s how it went my friend. I’m just being honest.
The first thing that we noticed when we reached the stall is basically this: small doughnut-shaped things being deep fried in a large wok by a sweet-faced man. They call this a cake? Really? Well, there’s a lot more to it.
Part III: Mathura Cake
At first, they make soft dough with flour, sugar, baking powder and cherry. Then, small round lumps are made of it:
and stretched into doughnut-shaped rings like this:
These are then deep-fried in a large wok (which this sweet-faced man was doing) and kept in a plate for a minute to dry out the oil.
Finally, these doughnut-shaped cakes are put into a mixture of flour, finely ground coconut, powder milk and sugar and served in a paper plate. Trying not to go too overboard, at first, we ordered only one for each of us. And boy was it awesome! By the time we finished our first one, we’d already ordered three more for each of us and ended up having more than we’d thought we would (well, things often happen to be that way, you know)…..and oh, about that Mathura part, we never really got to know about it not that we had to or cared to any longer.