'Sar' means 'malai' or 'the creamy part that congeals and floats on top of boiled milk as it cools'.
'Bhaja' or 'fry' refers to the process of making the sweet. Which is quite elaborate, actually. (Almost like a piling up of health horrors)
Lovingly skim the 'sar' off the boiled and cooled milk. Add layer upon layer of 'sar'. (Can you feel the inches bulging on your tummy?)
Deep-fry the whole thing in rich 'ghee'. (Shudder!!! Murder in the larder!)
Put it in sugar syrup and soak, soak, soak. (Calorie crime dripping with blood-sugar)
Bite into one of these caramel-coloured, usually-square-shaped, texturised/burnt/milky sweets, let the syrup ooze out, and swoon. (And then die of cholesterol/diabetes/obesity)
This year on our annual Diwali Holiday to Kolkata, the spouse and I discovered a shop near Dhakuria Station that sells the best Sarbhajas ever. Instead of the usual squares, their sarbhajas were like long rectangular ribbons folded over a big, oozy blob of 'khoa', which is 'sweetened, condensed, dried milk'. (Words fail to describe the magnitude of this most heinous horror)
This year, after three years of resisting the temptations of the Sarbhaja, I finally succumbed to its charm, and shamelessly gorged on a Sarbhaja a day, for four consecutive days. (How could you, you diet-deserter, you calorie-criminal, you health-hijacker?)
This happened just a week back. So, why am I writing about the Sarbhaja in PAST CONTINUOUS?
Because the Sarbhaja with its carefree piling of calories, its insouciant sweetness and its uninhibited invitation to indulgence, is a delight from my past. A past when I could co-habit with the Sarbhaja without any excess baggage around my waist.
Not like the present with the 'Sarbhajas-on-the-sly' and the undigested, lingering guilt (and unshed, persistent calories).
IS THERE ANY SWEET (APART FROM ICE CREAM) WHICH TAKES YOU BACK TO THE PAST?