Anarsa: A Newari Delicacy
We love it when our readers send us something special from their kitchens. Here’s a recipe for Anarsa, a Newari sweet delicacy prepared especially during Diwali, sent to us by Shanta Pradhan.
Anarsa—a special sweet of the Newari community
One of the festivals of the Hindu community is Diwali. After three days of Diwali, when Hindus worship Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth), the Gorkha/ Nepalese community of India and Nepal, celebrate ‘Bhai Tika’.
On this day, sisters worship their brothers by putting a ‘tilak’; offers them garlands made of Marigold flowers and, serves them authentic Gorkha/ Nepali delicacies such as ‘Anarsa’, ‘selroti’ (traditional bread of the Gorkha community, which is made of rice flower), and different varieties of vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries and pickles.
Along with this special food, ‘Anarsa’ has a special importance in the Newari community of the Gorkha/Nepalese people.
Here’s how to make it:
½ kg white rice
½ kg ghee
¼ poppyseeds (postdana)
Step 1: Soak the rice overnight. Next morning, strain the water from the rice and transfer the rice grains into a muslin cloth (or any thin cotton cloth) and hang it. This is to let all the water in the rice to drain so that the grains are completely dry. Once the rice grains are completely dry, crush it into a powder by grinding them in a mixer. If the rice powder is too dry then add 2 teaspoons of water and mix the rice powder with two hands for at least 30 minutes. Then, add sugar which should be half the quantity of rice powder. Then, mix the two ingredients well for 30 minutes.
In between, rub the mix, and after a few minutes, as sugar starts to melt, you will be able to make balls out of the mix.
Step 2: Transfer the mix into a bowl and cover it with a plate, make sure, it’s airtight.
After four to six hours, mix the rice powder and sugar gently for the second time till no lumps remain. Softness comes after the sugar melts and blends well with the powder. Now, take the mix in your palm and shape them into small balls similar to puri-balls. In the meantime, spread a good amount of poppyseeds on a plate. Place the balls on top of the poppyseeds. With four fingers, dab the balls gently on all sides till they become round like a puri or roti.
Step 3: Take a wok to heat ghee (6 to 8 spoons of ghee). Lower the flame of the gas to add the round rice-sugar roti-like mix. Make sure the side which has poppyseeds faces upwards. Do not overturn the roti; avoid touching the roti and let all sides of the roti cook on its own. Once you see the sides cooked, take a spatula, and gently spread the heated oil on top of the poppyseeds at certain intervals. This will help the top portion of the roti to cook.
Step 4: Once, they’re cooked, after 8 to 10 hours, place a paper in an airtight container, and stack the Anarsa. You can enjoy this unique Diwali sweet even after two months as fresh and crispy like before.